The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state the following references concerning the use of handheld devices(cell phones, tablets, electronic games).
with serious and often life-threatening consequences (Kaiser Foundation 2010, Active Healthy Kids Canada 2012).
Following are 10 research-based reasons for this ban.
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1. Rapid brain growth
Between 0 and 2 years, infant’s brains triple in size, and continue in a state of rapid development to 21 years of age . Early brain development is determined by environmental stimuli or lack thereof. Stimulation to a developing brain caused by overexposure to technologies (cell phones, the internet, iPads, TV), has been shown to be associated with executive functioning and attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity and decreased the ability to self-regulate, e.g. tantrums (Small 2008, Pagini 2010).
2. Delayed Development
Technology use restricts movement, which can result in delayed development. One in three children now enters school developmentally delayed, negatively impacting literacy and academic achievement (HELP EDI Maps 2013). Movement enhances attention and learning the ability.
3. Epidemic Obesity
TV and video game use correlates with increased obesity (Tremblay 2005). Children who are allowed a device in their bedrooms have 30% increased the incidence of obesity (Feng 2011).Largely due to obesity, 21st-century children may be the first generation many of whom will not outlive their parents (Professor Andrew Prentice, BBC News 2002).
4. Sleep Deprivation
60% of parents do not supervise their child’s technology usage, and 75% of children are allowed technology in their bedrooms (Kaiser Foundation 2010). 75% of children aged 9 and 10 years are sleep deprived to the extent that their grades are detrimentally impacted (Boston College 2012).
5. Mental Illness
Technology overuse is implicated as a causal factor in rising rates of child depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, attention deficit, autism, bipolar disorder, psychosis and problematic child behavior (Bristol University 2010, Mentzoni 2011,Shin 2011, Liberatore 2011, Robinson 2008).
Violent media content can cause child aggression (Anderson, 2007). Young children are increasingly exposed to rising incidence of physical and sexual violence in today’s media.
7. Digital dementia
High-speed media content can contribute to attention deficit, as well as decreased concentration and memory, due to the brain pruning neuronal tracks to the frontal cortex (Christakis 2004, Small 2008). Children who can’t pay attention can’t learn.
As parents attach more and more to technology, they are detaching from their children. In the absence of parental attachment, detached children can attach to devices, which can result in addiction (Rowan 2010).
9. Radiation emission
In May of 2011, the World Health Organization classified cell phones (and other wireless devices) as a category 2B risk (possible carcinogen) due to radiation emission (WHO 2011). James McNamee with Health Canada in October of 2011 issued a cautionary warning stating “Children are more sensitive to a variety of agents than adults as their brains and immune systems are still developing, so you can’t say the risk would be equal for a small adult as for a child.” (Globe and Mail2011).
The ways in which children are raised and educated with technology are no longer sustainable (Rowan 2010). Children are our future, but there is no future for children who overuse technology. A team-based approach is necessary and urgent in order to reduce the use of technology by children.
How it should be
Four critical factors for optimal child development and learning are movement, touch, human connection, and nature.
How it is happening
Sedentary, isolated, overstimulated, and neglected…the new millennium child may not survive.
Please contact Cris Rowan at [email protected] for additional information. © Zone’in February