Life

Why we should protect children under 13 years from gadgets

The vast majority of parents believe that the telephone, TV or computer are the perfect ways to entertain a child. This article presents arguments of pediatricians about why such a misconception harms the mental and physical development of children. 

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I have a daughter. Lisa is three years old, and she’s crazy about the tablet, where at any time she can watch her favorite “Piggy Peppy.” I do not see anything wrong in it, especially as the cartoon is very cheerful and informative. I think that such content develops positive qualities in my daughter and teaches her something new.

But Cris Rowan, a famous American pediatrician who studies the impact of modern technology on the development of children prooves the opposite.

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, internet, iPads, TV), has been shown to be associated with executive functioning and attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity and decreased ability to self-regulate.

Delayed Development
Technology use restricts movement, which can result in delayed development. One in three children now enter school developmentally delayed, negatively impacting literacy and academic achievement. Movement enhances attention and learning ability . Use of technology under the age of 12 years is detrimental to child development and learning.

 

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Epidemic Obesity
TV and video game use correlates with increased obesity. Children who are allowed a device in their bedrooms have 30% increased incidence of obesity . One in four Canadian, and one in three U.S. children are obese. 30% of children with obesity will develop diabetes, and obese individuals are at higher risk for early stroke and heart attack, gravely shortening life expectancy. Largely due to obesity, 21st century children may be the first generation many of whom will not outlive their parents.

Sleep Deprivation
60% of parents do not supervise their child’s technology usage, and 75% of children are allowed technology in their bedrooms. 75% of children aged 9 and 10 years are sleep deprived to the extent that their grades are detrimentally impacted.

 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. One in six Canadian children have a diagnosed mental illness, many of whom are on dangerous psychotropic medication.

Aggression
Violent media content can cause child aggression. Young children are increasingly exposed to rising incidence of physical and sexual violence in today’s media. “Grand Theft Auto V” portrays explicit sex, murder, rape, torture and mutilation, as do many movies and TV shows. The U.S. has categorized media violence as a Public Health Risk due to causal impact on child aggression. Media reports increased use of restraints and seclusion rooms with children who exhibit uncontrolled aggression.

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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. Children who can’t pay attention can’t learn.

 Addictions
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. One in 11 children aged 8-18 years are addicted to technology.

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. 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.”  In December, 2013 Dr. Anthony Miller from the University of Toronto’s School of Public Health recommend that based on new research, radio frequency exposure should be reclassified as a 2A (probable carcinogen), not a 2B (possible carcinogen). American Academy of Pediatrics requested review of EMF radiation emissions from technology devices, citing three reasons regarding impact on children.

Unsustainable
The ways in which children are raised and educated with technology are no longer sustainable. Children are our future, but there is no future for children who overuse technology.

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