Dear LA Teacher,
I often see my toddler granddaughter playing with her mother’s smart phone. She watches videos or plays games. What’s your take on this?
Dear LA Granny,
Experts warn that addiction to digital devices prevents young people from forming normal social relationships. After a session on one of the machines they are left drained by the constant interaction.
Kids can and do develop obsessions with their digital devices. Some signs include asking for it constantly, using it 3-4 hours daily, and becoming agitated when the device is removed.
British psychiatrist Dr. Richard Graham said in the April 26, 2013 issue of the Windsor Star that young technology addicts experienced the same withdrawal symptoms as alcoholics or heroine addicts when their digital devices were taken away.
According to Hillary DeCesare, cyberbullying expert and CEO of Everloop, in a Huffington Post 2012 article, says that kids should have early access to digital technologies so they become prepared to adapt and thrive in advanced professional settings. However, parents must monitor what the child is watching and limit the time spent there.
Kids have access to digital devices from birth and parents play games like “Words With Friends” or “Running With Friends” all the time. They are the ones modeling the behavior. So they can use the device as a reward. For example, if a mom wants to encourage her daughter to clean her room, she can offer the family iPad for 10 minutes if the child does a good job.
Kids are not miniature adults. They are growing and developing organisms. Limiting that growth and development by spending hours in front of a screen—computer, tablet, or smart phone—is doing that future adult a disservice. Inactivity causes obesity and fails to encourage muscle development. Like most helpful inventions, mix digital technology and a child’s development with smarts.
Learn more about LA Teacher on his website.