Negative Effects of Computers on Children

By James Wright

Supervised, moderated computer time helps prevent negative health effects.
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Computer technology has changed the way we deal with the world, from allowing us to communicate more efficiently to giving us easier access to cat videos. Newer generations are growing up with this technology, and while it does have its benefits, primarily in education and access to information, it can also be detrimental to children during a very important time of growth. Too much computer use can affect children's physiological and psychological health as well as social skills.

Obesity & Injury

Using the computer is a very sedentary activity; much like watching television, you don't get very much exercise simply sitting down. Computers add other health problems to the mix, however. Constant use of a keyboard and mouse can cause hand injuries, tendinitis, back problems and carpal tunnel syndrome. At a time when children are growing physically, it's especially important to note the benefits of physical activity.


Constant computer use can affect a child's attention span and focus. While some computer games have been shown to help a child develop certain cognitive skills, many games and other forms of computer entertainment do nothing to stimulate a child's mind. Constant switching between programs, games or videos makes it more difficult to focus on tasks for longer periods of time, and this can affect a student's studies and grades. In more extreme cases, children with computer addiction will fail their classes completely.


Computer addiction is a very real thing, and once it starts, it's very difficult to stop. Addiction can develop when a child has too much unmoderated computer time or otherwise have too much freedom over what he does while using it. This can lead to symptoms of withdrawal whenever a child is away from the computer; he will avoid physical activity and become less social, hoping to spend more time on the computer. Setting a limit of a half hour to an hour of computer time per day is a good way to curb addiction while stressing the importance of other social and physical activities.

Social Skills

Computer use is also a very solitary activity, and it can go hand in hand with addiction. Children who spend more time on the computer than with others their age, or even other people in general, may fail to develop appropriate social skills. Social skills are important not only for communicating with others, but for developing self-esteem and working in social environments, both of which are very important for children growing up. Underdeveloped social skills can result in loneliness and depression which are detrimental to health, relationships and academics.