Digital technology and screen time related to children: these are topics which lie very close to my heart. You can read my older blog post about this here.
Today I will try to show you how new research identifies use of applications, games and tablets and smartphones really harmful, especially for infants and young children.
Parents love to imagine the future academic and professional successes of their children! ME INCLUDED! For this reason, it is easy to convince parents to “educational” TV programs, computer games, smartphones, suggesting the benefits of their early use.
True, high technologies have a huge impact on the development of the physical, intellectual and emotional sphere of the child. But it is certainly NOT A BENEFICIAL EFFECT!
Neurobiologists warn: children born in the era of high technologies (since the late 1990s) have differently shaped their relationships with the world, with people and with language.
Research conducted at the Department of Speech Therapy and Development Disorders in Cracow (Poland) clearly indicated that infants undergoing stimulation with high technologies manifest a number of disturbing behaviors indicate:
– slow down the course of intellectual development
– delay or lack of language system
– delaying the development of play and shaping of skills social
– reduced motoric efficiency in infants from 4 to 12 months of age,
Following disturbing behaviors can be noticed:
– lack of concentration on the adult’s face
– no smile at the sight of a known person
– no babbling
– no listening to an adult
– no social gestures
– slowed down development of large and small motility.
In normal conditions in infants, arousing interest in a new toy causes intense movements of the legs, shoulder girdle, head and eyes. However, while tracking the TV picture, the child is completely immobile and stops responding to the voice of the parents. Babies calm down when they look at the TV or computer screen because they follow the movement of the object according to their developmental stage.
Unfortunately, the act of cognition does not take place in full scale, because the objects from the TV set are beyond the real range of the child, so they cannot be touched (hands, mouths, language). The image, which moves on the receiver’s flat screen, builds a false path to learn about the world in the child’s mind. Flat images do not represent representations of objects existing in reality, because they prevent the child from seeing the depth. This, in turn, significantly hinders the development of specific manipulation, which has a significant impact on the subsequent learning of writing.
Small children watching TV from several dozen minutes to several hours a day are characterized by:
– ??a state of continuous distraction
– sporadic reactions to their own name
– a delay or complete lack of speech development
– unwillingness to listen to read texts or viewing static pictures (eg illustrations in booklets)
– the lack of a common field of attention
– the lack of a gesture of pointing a finger
Over time, the disorder of children exposed to stimulation with high technologies is deepening.
In these children, we may observe:
– difficulty or complete lack of understanding of commands
– communicating with a shout or crying
– lack of interest in books, static pictures
– lack of respect for social rules
– difficulties in contacts in a peer group
– incomplete understanding of language
– concentration disorders, nervousness, hyperactivity, aggressiveness, lack of control over negative emotions
– tiredness associated with rapidly changing and flickering images
– sleep disorders (crying, screaming)
– eating disorders.
Media, especially visual, by excessive stimulation of the right hemisphere of the brain, slow down or even inhibit the development of the left hemisphere, which is responsible for learning spoken and written language. At the same time, increased dopamine secretion during computer games leads to addiction, and in the case of some diagnosed small children subjected to excessive stimulation with advanced technologies, even the so-called “Television autism.”
The mind of a small child exposed to contact with modern technologies focuses on new tasks related to them, and thus moves away from basic social skills such as: establishing and maintaining relationships with other people, reading facial expressions, recognizing emotions, showing empathy or common spending time and creating close bonds.
Instead of exposing children to the effects of over-stimulation with high technologies, we suggest to encourage them to spontaneous play – alone or with other children – so that they constantly develop their imagination and creativity. In this way, we will create a healthy environment conducive to the natural development of the young mind.
Read more about it, here.
Green, C. S. & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature, 423, 534-537.
Stern, S. (1999). Addiction to technologies: A social psychological perspective of Internet addiction. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 2, 419-424.
KIMBERLY S. YOUNG St. Bonaventure University Center for Online Addiction department
Review of Research: Children and Technology: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities
Kathleen Glascott Burris & Carol Wright