The New York Post article on tech addicted kids is a timely reminder that we need to be mindful of the essential role of relationships and engagement with the material world to support our children’s health and well-being. Kids need to engage with their peers, their families and their teachers to develop nuanced understandings of how the world works and their own place in it. This is not to say that devices like tablets and computers are not useful and/or educational, they can be when used in moderation and with a sense of purpose. However, according the article above, when they are the dominant influence on children’s time, there can be serious psychological, physical and emotional consequences.
The brain imaging and research reported on in the article shows that the brains of children who are addicted to their devices look like those of people who are addicted to drugs such as cocaine and heroin. The pre-frontal cortex, where the executive functions like impulse moderation and decision making, is the area affected. This can severely impact on the child’s capacity to engage in everyday interactions and relationships putting them at a considerable disadvantage in comprehending the ongoing learning processes that are involved in developing and maturing.
Children need time in the outdoors for physical health, emotional and psychological health and even for supporting cognitive development. Better still when this time is shared with friends and/or family members.