What is technology doing to your child’s well-being?

Author: Akayla Gardner

Apple—the world’s largest tech company to date—debuted a new digital health tool and updated parental controls at their latest WorldWide Developers Conference earlier this month. The updates reflect a call for more awareness and regulation when it comes to attachment to mobile devices.

The question of the impact of technology on overall well-being has become increasingly important in our society. However, how technology specifically affects growing kids is especially crucial for parents and anyone concerned with the development of youth.

We see how technology can affect parent to child relationships on a regular basis: families sitting down to a meal staring at their smartphones, parents quickly handing a device over to a fussy toddler, or teenagers passing the time locked into virtual realities and video games.

Where should we draw the line?

Research has shown that for children viewing more than the recommended screen time (which varies by age) has been linked to a number of negative consequences including low communication skills, delayed speech, obesity, and sleep deprivation.

An interview with leading psychologist Dr. Larry Rosen in an episode of “America Inside Out with Katie Couric” revealed that blue light from mobile devices causes plaque build up on developing brains that look similar to Alzheimer's disease.

“I think we are heading toward a major problem as these kids who have been using phones for the last 10 years start to get into their 20s, 30s, and 40s and I think we are going to start seeing a lot of memory problems,” Rosen said.

Fifty percent of teenagers today admit to being addicted to their phones. Although technology addiction is not yet formally considered an addiction within the U.S medical field, treatment centers for gaming and internet addictions have popped onto the scene for people that can’t shake their habits.

Mobile devices are also influencing the ways young people are communicating. They are becoming more comfortable with virtual friends than with face-to-face conversation and discussion that is necessary for healthy social lives. Social media also creates a constant competition and comparison mindset that can breed insecurity and depression in vulnerable children.

Experts say that content is just as important as duration when it comes to monitoring children’s device usage. Research supports children watching educational programming and using educational apps, but parents should wait until their child is at least two-years-old to introduce devices and should use them together. Parents should also ensure their kids are using the age-appropriate content.

Technology has added convenience, instant information, and countless benefits, but the rule still applies: too much of anything is bad.

If you want to learn more about digital health and youth-related issues, contact Ashleigh Diserio Consulting and we will do our best to address your needs.

Resources:

1) Recommended screen time age chart

http://www.lakesandprairies.net/Screen_Time.pdf

2) Screen Time Chart to track how much time your family spends in front of a screen. Keep one chart for each person.

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/downloads/screen-time-log.pdf

 


 

Ashleigh Diserio Consulting works with individuals and organizations, assisting them in gleaning insight into a person’s life, motivation, and past and future behavior, so certain areas of behavior can be understood with a high degree of accuracy. We provide services in the areas of criminal and intelligence investigations, management support, threat assessment, insider threat support, and education and training.