Trivium Pursuit

Screentime — Laurie, why do you keep harping on this subject?

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How do you deal with a husband who comes home from work every day and sits in front of a screen till he goes to bed? He watches the news all day, plays video games, or stares at his phone — he is seriously addicted to screens. I’ve tried for 10 years straight talking to him about it — counseling, begging, praising him the moments he’s not in front of a screen. Nothing works. He played video games when he was a child and teen, and he doesn’t see anything wrong with what he does. I’m at the point where I know this is just how it is with him. My three children and I have a separate life from their father because he’s always in front of a screen. –Tracy

To answer your question, I’ll post some articles which address this issue.

Screen Time, Digital Drug: Brain Images Show It’s as Addictive as Opioids

“…Some parents think they’re giving their child an educational edge like Susan who bought her 6-year-old son John an iPad when he was in first grade. “She thought, ‘Why not let him get a jump on things?’ John’s school had begun using the devices with younger and younger grades – and his technology teacher had raved about their educational benefits.

Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, one of the country’s foremost addiction experts who counseled Susan and her son John, writes, “She started giving John screen time to play different educational games on his iPad. Soon, he discovered Minecraft, which a teacher assured was “just like electronic Lego.” She remembered how much fun she had as a child building Legos….

We now know that smartphones, iPads, and Xboxes are a form of digital drug. Recent brain imaging research is showing that they affect the brain’s frontal cortex – which controls executive functioning, including impulse control – in exactly the same way that cocaine does. Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels — the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic – as much as opioids and sex….”

Screentime Intervention Helps Angry, Depressed & Unmotivated Kids

“…Both parents and clinicians may be “barking up the wrong tree.” That is, they’re trying to treat what looks like a textbook case of mental disorder, but failing to rule out and address the most common environmental cause of such symptoms—everyday use of electronics. Time and again, I’ve realized that regardless of whether there exists any “true” underlying diagnoses, successfully treating a child with mood dysregulation today requires methodically eliminating all electronics use for several weeks—an “electronics fast”—to allow the nervous system to “reset….”

Screen Dependency Disorder Is Real, and It Damages Your Child’s Brain

“…Another study found that the more time that a child spent on a smart device, the longer its speech would be delayed…”

How Phones Became Electronic Pacifiers

“…A study released by Common Sense Media in 2017 showed that children ages zero to 8 are spending 48 minutes a day on screens. That’s up from just 15 minutes a day in 2013. Tweens spend an average of 4 hours and 26 minutes a day on screens. And for teenagers that number is an astonishing 6 hours and 40 minutes. A new survey of British children shows they’re spending just 7 hours a week outdoors….”

Fortnite and other addictive games affect children’s brains in the same way as drugs and alcohol, study finds

“…He said: ‘There’s a much bigger risk factor for [addicted] children because their brains are flexible. Some parts of the brain develop until they are 17, others are not fully developed until they are 25….”

The scary truth about what’s hurting our kids

“In the past week, I’ve read several studies that are scary to me… it’s the scary truth about what’s hurting our kids. We all know that what our kids hear becomes their inner voice, but it’s hard to control what they hear from others, isn’t it?…”

Why the iPad is a far bigger threat to our children than anyone realises

“…It’s ten years since the publication of my book, Toxic Childhood, which warned of the dangers of too much screen-time on young people’s physical and mental health.

My fears have been realised. Though I was one of the first to foresee how insidiously technology would penetrate youngsters’ lives, even I’ve been stunned at how quickly even the tiniest have become slaves to screens – and how utterly older ones are defined by their virtual personas….”

The Neuro Transformers — Culture & the Malleability of the Human Brain

“…Well, it isn’t rocket science. Your brain is like a muscle: the more you train it in a particular skill—like learning a language, mastering a musical instrument, navigating London, or hunting underwater with your eyes open—the better it gets at that skill. And just as regular bench-pressing causes changes in the structure of your pectorals, deltoids, and triceps, so, too, continued exercise of your brain “muscles” causes actual changes in the neurocircuitry of your brain….”

Study: TV May Inhibit Babies’ Language Development

“As most parents of small children will reluctantly admit, nothing can occupy a child quite like television. Unfortunately, the scientific evidence suggests that using the boob tube as a babysitter has its price: the more time babies spend sitting in front of the screen, the more their social, cognitive and language development may suffer. Recent studies show that TV-viewing tends to decrease babies’ likelihood of learning new words, talking, playing and otherwise interacting with others….”

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