2014 May 7 by Dr. Randy
Nose in the screen
Are you concerned about your child’s excessive use of screen time? Welcome to the club. The ease of access to the Internet’s wealth of entertainment, information, and social networks is a blessing and a curse. Teachers expect students to use the Internet for research. Children expect to find their friends online. Teens rely on their phones and pads and laptops to stay in touch. Children today depend upon easy access to the web of electronic signals, photos, videos, and chats that keep them in touch. Computer savvy to them is no longer a phenomenon; it’s a way of life.
Effects of screen time
Are today’s kids too dependent on their screens? Are they missing out on contact with the real world? Does their use of screens isolate them from meaningful contact with the world of valuable experiences? Most parents would respond yes. Kids may be more ambivalent. They are one with their screens. So many sci-fi movies and TV shows depict a unification of humans and computers that it has become an assumption that we will become more and more electronic over time. Google glass and immersion in virtual worlds will certainly become commonplace. People will no longer have to look down at their phones. They may actually become their phones.
Does this concern you? Do computers and phones cause ADHD? Or is ADHD a new way of thinking for kids? Perhaps our children’s brains have become quicker, more versatile, adaptable, responsive, and flexible because of their use of technology? More and more children are less able and less willing to maintain extended focus on written text and non-visual presentations. Are their brains changing in response to the expectation that they process information more quickly, changing direction rapidly, juggling concepts simultaneously? What is happening to executive functions? Are we seeing the evolution of a new form of organizational, creative thinking?
What will happen to our time-honored traditions of literary novels and discourse, classical music, and philosophical reasoning in an era of digital frenetics? And what about the health effects of excessive exposure to electromagnetic frequencies? Does our technology lead to inevitable medical problems? Will the next generation find itself trying to catch up with potentially devastating negative effects of electronic overexposure in the same way that we are now grappling with global warming?
Have your teens watch this video.
Here are 10 suggestions for today’s parents to counter the overemphasis on screens.
1. Make sure that your kids get exercise every day. Encourage them to play sports, dance, swim, do martial arts, ride bikes and boards. Fortunately these things are still considered cool by children and teens.
2. Get your kids out into nature as much as possible. Exposure to nature has been proven in countless studies to benefit health.
3. Encourage children to go barefoot and ground themselves in this way.
4. Have your children play with other children in playgroups for preschoolers and social clubs for older children like scouts and art classes and after school activities.
5. Have them try a musical instrument and discover their musical talent.
6. Have pets for children to expose them to the animal world.
7. Get sun exposure.
8. Feed your kids a whole foods diet with plenty of fresh fruits.
9. Take some nutritional supplements that can counteract negative effects of exposure to electronics including Vitamin D, chlorella, modified citrus pectin, and Vitamin C powder.
10. And finally, here is a video that might encourage teens to consider some alternatives to overuse of their phones.