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iChild – unInformed

Its interesting that never in history have we been so connected,


while our social lives are more shallow than ever. Never have
children have so much to grab their attention, while attention deficit
disorders are on the rise. Kids have more access to information
than they ever had in history while test score and performance is
school are on the decline.

Eagerly we snap up the greatest and fanciest gadgets, considering


them a help and advancement in our lives, which they certainly can
be, and they are passed unto our children considering them the
greatest advancement in baby sitting technology of the millennium.

We blindly assume that the tech companies have assessed the


effects and therefore these fancy toys wont hurt our children. After
all there is so much educational value, think of how much they can
learn? But isn’t that simple? Is there a cost? Are there reasons for
concern? Are there side effects?

“Children spend more time with electronic media than they do in


any other activity, aside from sleep.” – Gentile DA, Reimer RA,
Nathanson AI, Walsh DA, Eisenmann JC. Protective Effects
of Parental Monitoring of Children’s Media Use: A Prospective
Study. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(5):479-484. doi:10.1001/
jamapediatrics.2014.146.

" 8 – 12 hours per day average


" 75% of children 0-8 have access to a smartphone
" Nearly 40% of children using tablets

Media use has taken this generation by storm. And even if you or
your child are not using 8 hours a day in media, even 30 minutes a
day is more than they would have used 30 years ago. So how is it
affecting them?
Points to Consider
1. Tech Addictions
William was a 4 years old, and one morning at 04 in the morning,
William came, matched into his dad’s bedroom, woke his dad up
and said “dad, I need the I-pad.” Dad sent William back to bed and
told him that what he really needed was to go back to sleep. But at
7 O’clock in the morning, when dad woke up, he found William in
the living room with the I-pad that had been besides his dad’s bed.
The battery level indicating he had been playing a game for over
two hours. This wasn’t the first time William had been exhibiting
such symptoms. Latter that day as his parents were considering
William’s symptoms, they realised that William had become an I-
pad addict.

Ipad addict? We hear of alcohol or drug addictions but, I-pad


addict? Yes, we now have a new category in the diagnosis manual
for diagnosis known as Tech addictions. These are addictions that
are just as strong as any drug addiction and it's affecting children as
young as 4yrs old.

“Toddlers becoming so addicted to iPads they require therapy”


“Children as young as four are becoming so addicted to
smartphones and iPads that they require psychological treatment” –
The Telegraph, April 2013

“About 160,000 South Korean children between the ages of five and
nine years old are addicted to the Internet via smartphones, tablets
or PCs” –http://www.dailytech.com/
Many+South+Korean+Children+Have+Internet+Addiction+Schools+
to
+Teach+Dangers/article29289.htm#sthash.O4OtBNI8.dpuf

“…young technology addicts experienced the same withdrawal


symptoms as alcoholics or heroin addicts, when the devices were
taken away.” – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/10008707/
Toddlers-becoming-so-addicted-to-iPads-they-require-therapy.html

“I’ve worked with hundreds of heroin addicts and crystal meth


addicts, and what I can say is that it’s easier to treat a heroin addict
than a true screen addict.” – Dr. Nicholas Kardaras
https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/how-screen-addiction-is-ruining-
the-brains-of-children

Symptoms of addiction:
" Withdrawal
" Tolerance
" Loss of interest in other activities
" Lack of control
" Deception
" Means of escaping reality
" Losing opportunities
– http://www.livescience.com/40680-signs-kids-addiction-to-
ipad.html

2. Current recommendations

“10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for


Children Under the Age of 12” – Huffington Post, March, 2014

1. Rapid brain growth

Especially in children. We know that the brain of a child triples in


size between the age of 0 and 2. Incredible explosion of growth and
development. Now early brain development is determined by their
environmental stimuli around them or lack thereof.

It’s simple, the environment that a child is placed in moulds the


brain of that child. If they are in the media environment, media will
be moulding them, but more than that, media can be replacing other
important aspects of early child education. Which we know are the
foundations for later developmental skills in life.
“The early years of a child’s life are very important for later health
and development. One of the main reasons is how fast the brain
grows starting before birth and continuing into early childhood.
Although the brain continues to develop and change into adulthood,
the first 8 years can build a foundation for future learning, health
and life success." - (CDC) Centers for Disease Control and
preventionhttps://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/early-
brain-development.html

Recent studies on the impact of media have linked television to the over-
stimulation of an infant’s brain, leading to the development of Attention-
Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in young children.

Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of


Washington, says that in the first two years of life, the brain triples in size.
Connections that form in the brain, or synapses, are based on early life
experiences. Prolonged exposure to rapid image changes during these first
years of critical brain development preconditions the mind to expect high
levels of stimulation. This, in turn, leads to inattention in later years.
Studies on the impact of media have shown that the more kids watch TV
before the age of three, the more likely they are to have attention problems
in school.

2. Delayed development

“lower levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity, higher levels


of sedentary time, and particularly their combination, were related to
poorer reading skills in boys.” – Journal of Medicine and Sport,
November 30 2016

“Higher-fit children showed greater bilateral hippocampal volumes


and superior relational memory task performance compared to
lower-fit children.” — Abstract, A neuroimaging investigation of
the association between aerobic fitness, hippocampal volume, and
memory performance in preadolescent children. Brain Research
Journal, 2010 , 172-83

Physical Activity
• improve overall mental health and quality of life
• enhance brain function and cognition
• improve behavior
• improve concentration
• increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain
• increase levels of norepinephrine and endorphins resulting in a
reduction of stress and an improvement of mood
• increase growth factors that help to create new nerve cells and
support synaptic plasticity

– Physical Activity and Performance at School. Journal of the
American Medical Association of Pediatrics, Jan. 2012

“…exercise provides an unparalleled stimulus, creating an


environment in which the brain is ready, willing, and able to learn.”
— Ratey & Hagerman (2008) Spark: The Evolutionary New Science
of Exercise and the Brain

“The whole body is designed for action; and unless the physical
powers are kept in health by active exercise, the mental powers
cannot long be used to their highest capacity. The physical inaction
which seems almost inevitable in the schoolroom--together with
other unhealthful conditions--makes it a trying place for children,
especially for those of feeble constitution.” -Education, page 207
https://m.egwwritings.org/en/book/29.10883.

Obesity

“86% of the studies found a statistically significant relationship


between increased media exposure and an increase in childhood
obesity.” – Media + Child and Adolescent Health: A Systematic
Review. Common Sense Media

“Screen time is associated with metabolic syndrome in adolescents,


regardless of physical activity.” – Dr Victoria Dunckley, https://
www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201312/overlooked-
factor-in-the-childhood-obesity-epidemic

4. Sleep deprivation

Approximately 75% of children are chronically sleep-deprived, and


approximately 75% of children are allowed tech use in their
bedrooms.
5. Mental illness

“Watching TV or playing computer games for more than two hours a


day is related to greater psychological difficulties irrespective of how
active children are.” – Dr. Angie Page, Bristol University. http://
www.bristol.ac.uk/sps/news/2010/107.html

6. Aggression

7. Digital dementia

dementia
noun Medicine a chronic or persistent mental disorder marked by
memory failures, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.

It should come later in life, but they are finding something now
termed early onset digital dementia . And they found about 15% of
the population in two countries{south korea and calafonia] they did
studies on, 14-15% od the teenage experiencing

8. Attention deficit disorders


“…studies clearly indicate an association between television
viewing and reports of behavioral difficulties associated with
ADHD.” – Television Viewing and Risk for Attention Problems
in Preschool Children, Journal of Pediatric Psychology

“Viewing television and playing video games each are associated


with increased subsequent attention problems in childhood.” –
American Academy of Pediatrics

“Much early development of physical and mental skills – and of their


foundations in the brain – comes from experimenting and solving
problems with real-world materials. The long-term outcomes of
forcing children’s attention unnaturally may have even more serious
implications than we have realized.” – Jane Healy. Ph.D
Educational Psychology. Endangered Minds, 201
9. Addictions

10. Radiation emission

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cris-rowan/10-reasons-why-
handheld-devices-should-be-banned_b_4899218.html

3. Health risks

“75% (of 127 studies) reported that more time spent with media was
associated with a negative health outcome.” – Media + Child and
Adolescent Health: A Systematic Review. Common Sense Media

“86% of the studies found a statistically significant relationship


between increased media exposure and an increase in childhood
obesity.” – Media + Child and Adolescent Health: A Systematic
Review. Common Sense Media

“88% reported a statistically significant relationship between


increased media exposure and an increase in smoking….” – Media
+ Child and Adolescent Health: A Systematic Review. Common
Sense Media

“80% reported a statistically significant relationship between


increased media exposure and an increase in alcohol use.” – Media
+ Child and Adolescent Health: A Systematic Review. Common
Sense Media

“93% reported a statistically significant relationship between


increased media exposure and earlier sexual activity.” – Media +
Child and Adolescent Health: A Systematic Review. Common Sense
Media

“65% reported a statistically significant relationship between


increased media exposure and poor academic outcomes – lower
academic achievement.” – Media + Child and Adolescent Health: A
Systematic Review. Common Sense Media
“69% reported a statistically significant relationship between
increased media exposure and ADHD and other attention
problems.” – Media + Child and Adolescent Health: A Systematic
Review. Common Sense Media

“…time spent with a computer may take the place of time spent
exercising or being active, and may put children at risk for obesity,
and eye, wrist, and back problems.” – Shields, M. K., and Behrman,
R. E. (Fall/Winter 2000). Children and computer technology:
Analysis and recommendations. The Future of Children, 10(2):
4-30.
http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=home-computer-access#
edn3

4. Eye damage

As people of all ages are spending more hours focused on digital


screens, their eyes are getting an exhausting endurance workout.

Eye strain from hours of screen time can result in eye irritation,
dryness, fatigue or blurred vision, and such problems are
increasingly common, according to a new report.

"Some of us are using these things for up to nine hours a day. Your
eye muscles have to focus at that near range and that can be
fatiguing," Dr. Christopher Starr, an associate professor of
ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, told
CBS "This Morning."

"You can imagine if you were at the gym and you held a dumbbell,
your bicep would be extremely sore nine hours later.... Same thing
for your eyes, you have to take breaks to relieve those muscles," he
said.

Most digital screens are backlit and emit blue light, or high-energy
visible (HEV) light wavelengths, which the group said can cause
irritation and possibly long-term damage to the retina. Blue light is
also known to suppress the sleep hormone melatonin, causing an
artificial feeling of wakefulness and disrupting sleep patterns, which
can add to eye strain.

Dryness, caused by reduced blinking while staring at screens, is


also a common factor in digital eye strain. A person's blink rate --
normally about 15-20 times per minute -- can decrease by up to half
when people are fixated on what they're viewing on a screen.

"When you're not blinking, and you're staring and your eyes are
wide open, tears evaporate very quickly," Starr said. "You get dry
spots, blurred vision, it can cause redness, pain, and over the
course of the day it just worsens and worsens.”

Just like other muscles in the body, the eyes need a varied
"workout" and some respite from prolonged strain.

"What we recommend to reduce this -- what's called computer


vision syndrome -- is to follow something called the 20-20-20 rule,"
said Starr. "Every 20 minutes that you're on a computer or a mobile
device, look away from the computer at an object at 20 feet away or
further for 20 seconds or more. And that will let those eye muscles
relax.”

Anti-reflective lenses on eyeglasses or filters for screens can also


help absorb some of the blue light and limit how much reaches the
retina and into the central nerve of the eye.”
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/screen-time-digital-eye-strain/

“…65 percent of Americans reporting symptoms of digital eye


strain” –https://www.thevisioncouncil.org/content/digital-eye-strain
“The rate of nearsightedness in the U.S. increased 66 percent since
the 1970s…” – Bloomberg News, Dec. 2009

“…children who spent less time outside were at greater risk of


developing myopia.” – Journal of Nature, The Myopia Boom
“Screen-time associated with narrowed vasculature of the retina
(narrowed vessels at the back of the eye—a cardiovascular risk) in
children, while time spent outdoors associated with healthy retinal
vasculature” – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-
wealth/201211/screens-and-the-stress-response, citing Influence of
Physical Activity and Screen Time on the Retinal Microvasculature
in Young Children

“Blue light”

“The light from our devices is “short-wavelength-enriched,” meaning


it has a higher concentration of blue light than natural light…” –
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/q-a-why-is-blue-light-
before-bedtime-bad-for-sleep/

“…blue light penetrates all the way to the retina (the inner lining of
the back of the eye)…
[L]aboratory studies have shown that too much exposure to blue
light can damage light-sensitive cells in the retina. This causes
changes that resemble those of macular degeneration, which can
lead to permanent vision loss.” – Gary Heiting, OD. http://
www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/blue-light.htm

“Here’s what doesn’t need research: 415 to 445nm is super hot


light, and if it’s really focused and brought up close – when you’re
talking about a tablet six inches from a kid’s face – it’s got to be
significant,” – Dr. William Harrison, optometrist

“…delayed production of melatonin due to blue light exposure at


night is causing far more problems than insomnia, from diabetes
and certain types of cancer to lupus and migraine headaches.
Optometrists are even seeing high levels of retinal stress in young
people that could lead to the early onset of macular degeneration” –
https://gigaom.com/2014/09/01/what-is-the-blue-light-from-our-
screens-really-doing-to-our-eyes/

“Because short-wavelength, high energy blue light scatters more


easily than other visible light, it is not as easily focused. When
you’re looking at computer screens and other digital devices that
emit significant amounts of blue light, this unfocused visual “noise”
reduces contrast and can contribute to digital eye strain.” – Gary
Heiting, OD. http://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/blue-light.htm

“…blue light affects levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin


more than any other wavelength.” – https://
www.scientificamerican.com/article/q-a-why-is-blue-light-before-
bedtime-bad-for-sleep/

“Healthy sleep patterns and deep sleep in particular are dependent


on normalized circadian cycles and adequate melatonin (sleep-
signal) secretion, which is suppressed by both screens and
manmade EMFs. Deep sleep is essential for critical thinking, focus,
memory and mood.” – Dr. Victoria Dunckley, https://
www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201308/boost-your-
childs-brain-power-simple-remedy

“Participants who read on light-emitting devices took longer to fall


asleep, had less REM sleep, and had higher alertness before
bedtime [than those people who read printed books]. …those who
read on the light-emitting device were sleepier and took longer to
wake up.” –
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/q-a-why-is-blue-light-
before-bedtime-bad-for-sleep/

5. Interactive media

“Interactive screen time is worse than TV.” – https://


www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201408/dumb-
dumber-interactive-screentime-is-worse-tv

“If even a small amount of interactive screen-time remained


(outside of school), the intervention didn’t work.” – https://
www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201408/dumb-
dumber-interactive-screentime-is-worse-tv
“…clinical observations of hundreds of patients: the typical over-
stimulated, impulsive and hyperaroused kid “on screens,” the
dramatic changes in mood, focus and compassion capacity while off
of them (even if TV was allowed), and the setbacks that occurred
when the handheld devices returned.” – https://
www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201408/dumb-
dumber-interactive-screentime-is-worse-tv

“…just 30 minutes of either computer use or gaming caused


disturbed sleep and daytime fatigue, compared to 2 hours or more
of TV required for similar effects.” – https://
www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201408/dumb-
dumber-interactive-screentime-is-worse-tv

“In a cross-over study comparing a single evening of excessive


gaming vs. excessive television viewing, the gaming condition
resulted in impairment of both sleep (altered sleep structure,
specifically reduced slow wave sleep and prolonged sleep-onset)
and cognition (in the form of verbal memory testing), while the TV
condition caused inefficient sleep but did not change overall sleep
“structure,” nor did it cause cognitive impairment.”  https://
www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201408/dumb-
dumber-interactive-screentime-is-worse-tv

“[the] very inter-activeness is overly stimulating to the nervous


system—especially a developing one—via sensory and circadian
reactions and psychological and physiological hyper-arousal.  Once
the arousal-stress cycle becomes chronic, it will eventually cause
damage to the nervous system. Mere “moderation” of screen-time is
often not sufficient to interrupt this vicious,self-perpetuating cycle.” –
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-
wealth/201408/dumb-dumber-interactive-screentime-is-worse-tv

6. Dr. Jane Healy’s research

Media use:

1. Overstimulates children and creates passive withdrawal.


a. stress
b. over-activity
c. frustration
d. irritability
2. Causes attention and listening problems
3. Emphasizes skills which do not transfer well to reading or
listening
4. Requires less mental effort than reading
5. Shortens the time children are willing to spend on intellectual
problems they are set to solve

– Jane Healy. Ph.D Educational Psychology. Endangered Minds,


198-99

“artificially manipulates the brain into paying attention by violating


certain of its natural defenses with frequent visual and auditory
changes (“saliency”)” – Jane Healy. Ph.D Educational Psychology.
Endangered Minds, 198-99

“induces neural passivity and reduces the brain’s ability to remain


actively focused on a task” – Jane Healy. Ph.D Educational
Psychology. Endangered Minds, 198-99

“Television has a hypnotic, and possibly neurologically addictive,


effect on the brain by changing the frequency of its electrical
impulses in ways that block active mental processing.” – Jane
Healy. Ph.D Educational Psychology. Endangered Minds, 198-99

“Much early development of physical and mental skills – and of their


foundations in the brain – comes from experimenting and solving
problems with real-world materials. The long-term outcomes of
forcing children’s attention unnaturally may have even more serious
implications than we have realized.” – Jane Healy. Ph.D
Educational Psychology. Endangered Minds, 201

Attention deficits
It’s designed to hold attention!

“A child’s ability to stay focused on a screen, though not anywhere


else, is actually characteristic of attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder.” – Dr. Perri Klass http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/
health/views/10klass.html

“Much early development of physical and mental skills – and of their


foundations in the brain – comes from experimenting and solving
problems with real-world materials. The long-term outcomes of
forcing children’s attention unnaturally may have even more serious
implications than we have realized.” – Jane Healy. Ph.D
Educational Psychology. Endangered Minds, 201

“Studies have suggested the best way to get viewers to pay


attention the their messages is to capitalize on the brain’s instinctive
responses to danger.” – Jane Healy. Ph.D Educational Psychology.
Endangered Minds, 199

“Sudden close-ups, pans, and zooms are effective in alerting the


brain because they violate it’s reflex need to maintain a predictable
“personal space”…. salient features such as bright colors, quick
movements, or sudden noises get attention fast, since brains are
programmed to be extremely sensitive to such changes that might
signal danger.” – Jane Healy. Ph.D Educational Psychology.
Endangered Minds, 199

“…most children’s programs … are planned with an eye to


capitalizing on these involuntary responses.” – Jane Healy. Ph.D
Educational Psychology. Endangered Minds, 199

As children are conditioned to having something else hold their


attention, they lose the power to hold attention for themselves.
“In the last 50 years we have created platforms in which we present
things in surreal time. When you condition the mind to become
accustomed to high levels of input, there’s a chance that reality can
just become boring.” – Dr Dimitri Christakis, cited in http://
www.everydayhealth.com/adhd-awareness/does-technology-cause-
adhd.aspx

“Since the brain builds its internal connections primarily in response


to active mental effort, … by inducing our children to habituate their
brains to too much easy video pleasure, we may truly risk
weakening their mental abilities.” – Jane Healy. Ph.D Educational
Psychology. Endangered Minds, 204
“One thing we do know, is that it reduces what we call vigilance [the
ability to remain actively focused on a task]. If they watch fast-
paced programs and then we give them things to do afterward such
as reading or solving complex puzzles, their stick-to-it-iveness is
diminished; they’re not as willing to stay with the task.” – Dr
Jennings Bryant, University of Alabama, quoted in Endangered
Minds, 201

“When children report non-screen activities as “boring,” this should


be a red flag to parents and educators—the child has become
accustomed to an unnatural level of stimulation. – Victoria
Dunckley, M.D https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-
wealth/201402/why-can-my-inattentive-child-pay-attention-video-
games

“We work so hard to grab the child’s attention…that sometimes I’m


afraid we forgot the learning…. We may have created a child who
was so reinforced to go after the excitement, [the rewards], that the
learning was almost secondary.” – Dr Jennings Bryant, University of
Alabama, quoted in Endangered Minds, 199

More studies

“69% reported a statistically significant relationship between


increased media exposure and ADHD and other attention
problems.” – Media + Child and Adolescent Health: A
Systematic Review. Common Sense Media

“…studies clearly indicate an association between television


viewing and reports of behavioral difficulties associated with
ADHD.” – Television Viewing and Risk for Attention Problems in
Preschool Children, Journal of Pediatric Psychology

“Viewing television and playing video games each are associated


with increased subsequent attention problems in childhood.” –
American Academy of Pediatrics

“…kids under the age of 5 who watched two hours of TV a day were
20 percent more likely than kids who watched no TV to have
attention problems at school age.” – Dr Dimitri Christakis, cited in
http://www.everydayhealth.com/adhd-awareness/does-technology-
cause-adhd.aspx

“A recent study assessed the viewing habits of 1,323 children in


third, fourth, and fifth grades over 13 months and found that
children who spent more than two hours a day in front of a screen…
were 1.6 to 2.1 times more likely to have attention problems.” –
 http://www.everydayhealth.com/adhd-awareness/does-technology-
cause-adhd.aspx

“Combining the research results from 50 studies, Sanne Nikkelen


[and colleagues] of the University of Amsterdam … [found] a
significant correlation between media use and measures of ADHD,
including attention problems, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.” –
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/media-spotlight/201409/can-
media-use-cause-adhd-symptoms-in-children

“Because electronics are stimulating, video games and other


interactive screen media are being marketed as learning tools. But
studies show these interactive-screen media types have an adverse
effect on attention and impulsivity over time—especially in children
who already have attention problems.” – Victoria Dunckley, M.D
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201402/why-
can-my-inattentive-child-pay-attention-video-games

“Essentially, when it comes to using electronics as a means to


engage or reward, “it works until it doesn’t.” Soon enough,
dysregulation rears its ugly head, and more and more stimulation is
required for focus—identical to mechanisms in drug addiction.
When children report non-screen activities as “boring,” this should
be a red flag to parents and educators—the child has become
accustomed to an unnatural level of stimulation.” – Victoria
Dunckley, M.D https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-
wealth/201402/why-can-my-inattentive-child-pay-attention-video-
games

“We are heading toward a global attention deficit syndrome…” –


Hermann Maurer, Does theInternet Make Us Stupid?

7. Content

" An average American child will view 200,000 violent acts and
16,000 murders by age 18.
" Two-thirds of all programming contains violence
" Violence is typically associated with humor and often goes
unpunished
" Violence is often shown as a way to accomplish good
" Young children struggle to differentiate between reality and
fantasy
" Desensitizes children
" Viewing violence can decrease willingness to help others in need
– University of Michigan Studies

The question is what will you do with this information? Don’t just
say, oh yeah, media is bad for kids, and keep letting them use it. It
doesn’t do much good to simply know this information if you don’t
put it into practice.

“Although 81 percent of our users felt that children today spend too
much time on smart devices, it hasn’t put most of them off using
them to entertain their baby.” – Babies.UK, quoted on http://
www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/10008707/Toddlers-becoming-so-
addicted-to-iPads-they-require-therapy.html