The Digital Age – Of Addiction
Children today are spending phenomenal amounts of time in front of the screen. They have access to televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets, and other devices. The American Academy of Pediatrics has found that children spend, on average, more than seven hours per day entertaining themselves through such media. That’s more time than they have to learn at school each day. The children in this generation are known as Glow Kids.
The Electronic Obsession
Is this trend a bad thing or just a product of our technological future? Our own Dr. Nicholas Kardaras says the former. His research has shown children falling into “these trances, addictive-like ways” when it comes to their devices. The problem, he noted, has cropped up within the last decade or so. Kardaras is not against technology, but he understands what a fragile time it is as far as development goes.
Striking A Balance
Dr. Kardaras — A New York addiction treatment professional — believes that these glow kids should have access to the digital world, but that access must remain appropriate. In generations past, watching television took over living rooms across the country. Now, things are very different and they impact the brain in new ways. Television is a passive sort of stimulation, meaning no matter how exciting the story line may be the watcher has no input or control. Interactive screens, on the other hand, are “hyper-arousing and stimulating.”
In his book, “Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction is Hijacking our Kids – and How to Break the Trance,” Dr. Kardaras discusses findings in his research. As it turns out, screens have the same sort of effect on a child’s frontal cortex as cocaine addiction. Not only can the screens distract, they could potentially cause an affinity for addictive behaviors in the future.
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When To Draw the Line
Dr. Kardaras says that children should be kept off-screen as much as possible until the age of 10. He says these years are the most delicate period of development. Rather than focusing on games and shows, children need to be “using their active imagination” and “tactile ability to write.” This stance is supported by in-depth studies and years of personal experience.
One problem parents are facing with such advice is the increasing prevalence of technology in schools. Teachers are turning to digital methods more than ever and it can make it very difficult for parents to control screen time. Educators are able to put forth less effort, and companies like Apple make big bucks from the partnership. This is an arrangement Kardaras says is part of the “greatest lie going.”
His advice? Monitor your children and look into family resources. Encourage them to think creatively and write when they’re home if you think they are having too much screen time at school. Dr. Kardaras also says that each child is different: Some will be fine with more screen time, while others need tighter guidance. If you see issues, such as mood swings without the device, it might be a “red flag that there might be a problem.”