With mental illness, behavioral disorders, and obesity on the rise, is technology actually damaging our children’s development?
“I don’t wanna do that! It is too much work!”
My son is playing on my iPhone during the ten minute drive home from his hockey camp.
He’s frustrated that one of his games won’t work on my iPhone, so I suggest he finds his iTouch when he gets home and downloads the app on his device.
When he sighs, “I don’t wanna do that! It is too much work!” I can’t help but laugh out loud. “Seriously, Jackson?” I ask, “Did you hear what you just said?”
And of course my reply to him is, I have to post that on Facebook.
Yes, considering I work online, spending the majority of my waking hours in front of a glowing screen, it isn’t surprising that my son’s world is highly influenced by technology.
While I try to limit his daily exposure to technology and keep him active in team sports as well as music lessons, my son clocks some serious screen time. And with comments like, “I don’t wanna do that! It is too much work!” well, I worry about the damage all of this technology is doing on his physical and psychological development.
In a recent article on Mashable, Kids & Technology: The Developmental Health Debate, Stephanie Buck delves into this developmental debate, citing pediatric occupational therapist Cris Rowan, author of Virtual Child: The Terrifying Truth About What Technology is Doing to Children, and founder of Zone’in Programs Inc, who believes that the damage technology is having on children’s brain development is irreversible.
Rowan insists, “They are permanently altering the formation of their brain, and it’s not in a good way.” And when asked how she foresaw children adapting or evolving if they were to continue at the level of usage seen today, Rowan responded, “Well, I see them dying.”
A study out of Bristol University, which Rowan cites, found that children who spend longer than two hours in front of a computer or television screen are more likely to suffer psychological difficulties, regardless of how physically active they are.
As a tech mom, I take Rowan’s message of doom with a huge rock of salt. Yes, the human brain is definitely being altered as humans evolve within this ever changing world. Yes, obesity has become a staggering problem as children adopt sedentary lifestyles.
But, I think we can’t just lament the ills of technology — we must help our children to learn how to adapt to this often overwhelming medium and incorporate it into a healthy lifestyle.
However, is that possible?
Do you think that the long term damage of excessive exposure to technology is destroying our children’s lives and health?
Is there anything parents can do to protect their children? What are you doing in your home?