Smart Devices: Friend Or Foe For Your Kids? Find Out Here!

Rachel Yeoh

PARENTS need to understand that a child's social and emotional development influences all other areas.

‘Mummy, mummy, come play masak-masak with me!”

‘Wait, mummy is busy now, later OK?’

‘Mummy, then can I have your phone to play games?’

‘OK, OK.’

Does this scenario sound somewhat familiar?

Image by ongchinonn from Pixabay

If you are a parent of young kids living in the digital era, it is hard to say no when they ask for your smartphone. When dining out with friends and extended family members, you just need them to be sweet, quiet little angels for that few hours. The godsend remedy is any smart device.

No doubt, it is irrefutable that smart devices do play an important part in a child’s education in this modern world. With a device in hand, they can access a lot of learning resources, such as mobile dictionaries, encyclopedias, educational applications, and many more – apart from traditional books or classrooms.

However, always remember not to give up what you want most for what you want now, as frequent and prolonged use of smart devices may affect their brain development and everyday habits.

Unfortunately, this is not a scare tactic to get parents to be compliant to ‘spend more time with the kids’; smart devices should not be taken lightly. In fact, it affects the mind and the body of children.


Scroll down to find out!

Image by zhang kaiyv from Pexels

1. May contribute to sleep deprivation

We have this hormone called melatonin that controls our sleeping patterns. When we (more so for children) are exposed to screens for a long while, it can affect the melatonin hormone, which directly affects sleep. It affects a child’s sleeping patterns; leaving them wide awake late at night but super sleepy when they are at school. This brings in sleep deprivation, which will affect the body defence system. Thus, they may easily fall sick.

We know how it is when they are sleepy or sick. They start to whine and cry – not even their favourite toys can pacify them – except probably a toy unboxing video on YouTube, which will bring you to square one.

2. Likely to cause eye discomfort

Image by Krewr Studio from Pexels

According to Dr. Rajini Sarvananthan, Consultant General and Development Paediatrician, “Vision problems can cause difficulties in fine motor coordination, dexterity, and manipulation; depth perception, which impacts the ability to move on uneven surfaces, stairs, and climbing heights; and develop literacy and numeracy skills that can result in attention problems and learning disabilities.”

Hold up.

Read that again!

Mummies, it is time for you to take action and take care of your child’s eyes more often than not. Here is why:

Based on a survey conducted by NEW Anmum™ ESSENTIAL GOLD among 304 Malaysian mothers with children aged 1 to 6, 70% of them admitted to not bringing their children for an eye checkup despite agreeing that eye development is important.

With no vision examinations and increased screen time, your child might be at risk of blurry vision (because watching a show at the same distance for an extended time can cause the eye to blur when they look away from the screen. It may also cause myopia (nearsightedness) and dry eyes.

If they need to view the screen for a while, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screen breaks, in order to help prevent eye strain.

3. Can cause body aches and pain

Just when we thought middle-aged people are more prone to body aches and pains, children are getting them as well.

When we were young, we were expected to be active. It is not a rare sight to see little children running around and getting into some mischief.

Kids nowadays can hold the same posture for a long time because they are concentrating on what they are watching on the screen. If they are positioned awkwardly with their necks bent as they look down, it can cause a strain on the muscles.

4. May inhibit the development of social skills

Image by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

As social beings, we need to converse to improve our social skills and catch social cues. However, according to a survey conducted by NEW Anmum™ ESSENTIAL GOLD among 304 Malaysian mothers with children aged 1 to 6, they have indicated that they are less focused on their children’s social and emotional development.

This should not be the case.

According to Dr. Rajini Sarvananthan, Consultant General and Development Paediatrician, “Children’s social and emotional development influences all other areas of developments.”

Social and emotional development is the key for children to understand who they are, know what they are feeling, and understand others. It will go on to help them form and sustain positive relationships. You want them to be able to manage and express their emotions, as well as explore and engage with the environment – it all stems from social and emotional development.

As parents, you are responsible to help your child create important experiences that will guide them on how they see the world. No cartoon or educational application will be able to replace your presence and counsel.

5. Likely to cause high levels of anxiety, depression, and temper tantrums

Image by 帆 张 from Pixabay

If they are acting up, it might be a sign for you to give them more love and attention; not a tablet or mobile phone.

San Diego State University Psychologist, Dr. Jean Twenge and University of Georgia Psychology Professor, Dr. W. Keith Campbell found that after 1 hour of screen time, children began to show signs of less curiosity, lower self-control, less emotional stability, and greater inability to complete tasks. Moreover, the study also discovered that adolescents who spend more than 7 hours a day on screens were twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression.

It looks like long hours of screen time is a no-no!

6. Can lead to a low body defence system

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

No more getting dirty in the mud!

While parents heave a sigh of relief that they do not have to worry about washing off mud and grease of their children’s clothes (because they spend more time at home in front of a screen for entertainment), they have one more thing to worry about – which led us to think, maybe washing stained clothes is better.

With less sun and fresh air, kids’ defence system will be greatly affected. They need adequate Vitamin D as it is a nutrient linked to building defence system.

Do you know where to get FREE Vitamin D?


Under the sun.

In short, let your kids play outside!

7. May affect brain functions

Huh? That drastic?

Unfortunately, science says so.

number of studies have shown that excessive screen time may have impacts on the structural functions in the brain involving emotional processing, executive attention, decision making, and cognitive control.

It is probably caused by how excessive shows and apps on-screen overstimulate the brain, that, though learning, might cause them to have short attention spans, too!

There are Pros, Too!

Image by Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay

OK, smart devices are not all bad. Despite all the horrific possible-outcomes listed above, when used wisely (and under your monitoring), it is actually a useful device that can:

  1. Add another dimension of learning: How often do schools teach languages or science via song or dance?

  2. An educational support for homework: Mathematics is always more fun when there are easy-to-grasp and colourful illustrations

  3. Encourage playtime: All work and no play makes all kids dull!

  4. Provide safety and security: It may not be the best time to have big birthday parties and head out for a picnic or for frolicking at the public playground right about now

Support Your Child’s 8 Important Developments

What your kids consume shows. It can be through what they watch on screens or what they drink to feed their body and mind.

Wendy Goh, Scientific and Nutrition Manager of Fonterra Brands Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. says that Anmum™ ESSENTIAL GOLD is fortified to support the overall growth and development of Generation Alpha (second generation of the digital era).

Anmum™ ESSENTIAL GOLD contains milk fat globule membrane (MFGM). Scientific study shows that MFGM is important to help improve the emotional and behavioural regulation in children.

Anmum™ ESSENTIAL GOLD contains Vitamin A (that is essential for the functioning of the eyes) and prebiotics. Prebiotics support a good gut environment for effective nutrient absorption.

Anmum™ ESSENTIAL GOLD is scientifically formulated for children aged 1 to 6. Support your child for the all-rounded growth and development. It is formulated with 33% more DHA^, MFGM + GA**, prebiotics, and 15 key nutrients. When you feed your children with good nutrition and keep interacting with them, you are supporting the 8 important areas of their developments, like physical growth, good gut development, good body resistance, cognitive development including sustained attention, eye development, and social and emotional development.

^Compared to current Anmum Essential in a single-serve

** GA refers to Gangliosides

Anmum™ ESSENTIAL GOLD is available at all major supermarkets at RM44.90 for 550g and RM86.90 for 1.1kg. Alternatively, you can get a FREE sample here to try!

For more details about Anmum™ ESSENTIAL GOLD products and the activities they are running, head over to the Anmum™ ESSENTIAL GOLD official websiteAnmum™ ESSENTIAL Facebook page, or watch a short documentary featuring Dr. Rajini Sarvananthan, Consultant General and Development Paediatrician, named Developing Next-Gen: Conversations with Professionals.

For more information, please visit:

Source from Motherhood