“The American Academy of Pediatrics….states infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010). Children and youth use 4-5 times the recommended amount of technology, with serious and often life threatening consequences (Kaiser Foundation 2010).” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cris-rowan/ Ten Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12.
Reason #1 to Limit Screen Time – Rapid Brain Growth of Children
Over exposure to technologies has been shown to be associated with deficits in executive functioning and attention, cognitive delays, impaired learning, and decreased ability to self-regulate, e.g. tantrums (Small 2008, Pagini 2010).
There are a few research based bites of evidence. More reasons coming up soon…..for now I’d like to focus on and anecdotal example of self-regulation, or rather its lack. Recently during a meeting a very busy mom sent her preschooler (borderline toddler) to the area adjacent to our table with a hand held electronic device of some kind. A few minutes into the meeting he wailed as though he had been injured and came running to his mom with the device. She pushed a couple buttons and he immediately became quiet and went back to the game. Are little children soothed by human interaction or by devices? The prior has many advantages over the latter. Soothing of children by a consistent significant other (typically their mother), results in secure attachment, and is a good start for sound development.
George Williams, a friend of mine who generally gives sound advice regarding children and has a Pediatric Practice for Family Therapy, believes that technology is impacting children and their families in significantly negative ways from a social learning and in neurological aspects. He and the dozen professionals in his office are asking that young children below school age have no computer screen time, and no more than two hours of TV.
Rather than using technology, children should play outdoors frequently and with toys that foster building, creativity and imagination. Our children are more impatient, nervous and fragile than they used to be. Let us build on the goodness of family life and foster a life of faith and resiliency for our children. It can be as simple as sometimes letting the children have time to get bored, and to work through the boredom on their own. Opening the gates to wonder at God’s gifts comes at a price, and occasional boredom at a young age sure helps. May the Good Lord and His Blessed Mother help us maintain peace in our hearts and homes during these days when that can be more difficult.