Screen time versus other time. When it comes to kids, it's quite often 'game over.'
Today's children spend an average of 5-9 hours a day on non-academic screen time.
Only 3 percent actually use creator apps. Most are passive users and are the product. The technology behind these platforms we allow our children access to, is not designed for the fully developed adult brain. Yet, we allow it to hack our child's brain for hours. The results so far haven't been great.
Parents and educators are seeing a rise in 'ADHD' like behaviors. Human interaction is full of friction, and not as instantly rewarding as swiping an ipad, or using a gaming console. But human interaction is rich and complex and vital for the developing brain.
Soon after kids returned to school this fall, most of the USA's top pediatric groups, including the American Association of Pediatrics declared a mental health emergency amongst children.
They include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association.
One fact that stands out is after a year and a half of isolation, uncertainty, and constant stress, the effects of which will be fully understood in the years to come, kids and teachers are starting to show signs of wanting to slow down. We researched articles, peer reviewed published research papers and spoke to doctors, parents and educators. And kids themselves! They were remarkably candid about a subject that has been taboo for so long. Their feelings!
Teachers report an increase in disruptive or ADHD behaviors in the classrooms, at levels not seen before.
Reports of violence and bullying have increased, especially amongst adolescent boys, with girls turning to social media to 'let off steam.' Cyber-bullying has increased.
For younger children, who are not in supported environments, forms of anxiety and stress levels have built up, with reports of increased crying or meltdowns. When a child's brain is fed a steady diet of immediate rewards, constant alerts from needy and enticing apps, and unethical software, we need to pay attention. Our next blog will provide tools that should be followed, to help the overall well-being of our children.
David Kirsch and Samira Sine