Pediatrician Chris Rowan recommends that parents spend more time with their children (especially those under 12) and not allow them to spend all their free time at the computer or on the phone.
After all, this type of leisure has a negative impact on development. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state that children aged 0-2 should not be exposed to electronic devices at all. Children from 3 to 5 years old can use them no more than 1 hour a day, from 6 to 18 years old – 2 hours a day. However, in reality, children and adolescents use gadgets on average 4-5 times more than recommended, and this entails certain negative consequences, which in some cases can be life-threatening. Portable devices (mobile phones, tablets, electronic games) have significantly increased the availability and use of modern technologies, especially for very young children (Common Sense Media, 2013). Therefore, pediatrician and biologist Chris Rowan insists on banning the use of mobile electronic devices by children under 12 years of age.
Here are 10 main reasons for this decision, which are based on data from numerous studies.
1. Influence on brain development
In young children from birth to two years, the volume of the brain increases threefold and continues to develop until the age of 21. The formation of the brain is influenced by the environment. Excessive use of technology can lead to a lack of attention and lag in cognition of the world around us, learning disorders, as well as increased impulsivity, and decreased ability to self-control, which can manifest themselves as outbursts of anger.
2. Developmental delay
Technology distracts the child from moving activities, and this can lead to developmental delays. Now every third child who comes to school lags behind in development, and this negatively affects their success. The child’s mobility increases his attentiveness and ability to learn, and the use of technology for up to 12 years only harms the child’s development.
Television and video games are related to obesity. Children who are allowed to use gadgets in their rooms are 30% more likely to be obese. Each of the four Canadian children and each of the three children in the United States is overweight. 30% of obese children develop diabetes and have an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and early death. Due to obesity, children of the XXI century can become the first generation, many of whose representatives will not survive their parents.
60% of parents do not monitor how and when their children use technological advances, and 75% of children use them in their rooms with the permission of adults. 75% of children aged 9-10 sleep less than they should at their age.
5. Psychological disorders
Technology can cause mental disorders in children. These include depression, anxiety, attention deficit, autism, bipolar disorder, psychosis, and problem behaviors. Each of the six Canadian children has been diagnosed with a mental disorder, and many of them are taking dangerous psychotropic drugs at such an early age.
Violent media content can cause uncontrolled aggression in children. For example, in the popular video game “Grand Theft Auto V” there are many scenes of sexual nature, murder, torture, etc., which can also often be seen on TV screens in movies and TV shows.
7. Digital dementia
The content of electronic media leads to a lack of attention, as well as a decrease in concentration and memory. Children who have difficulty concentrating are unable to learn properly.
8. Dependence on gadgets
The more parents are interested in technology, the less time they spend communicating with their children. That’s why children are often attached to devices without getting enough parental attention. As of 2009, each of the 11 children aged 8 to 18 was addicted to technology.
9. Radiation radiation
In May 2011, the World Health Organization classified cell phones (and other cordless devices) as possible sources of carcinogens (“hazard category 2B”) due to radiation. James McNamee of the Canadian Ministry of Health warned in October 2011 that “Children are more sensitive to electromagnetic waves than adults because their brains and immune systems continue to develop.”
In December 2013, based on new research, Dr. Anthony Miller of the University of Toronto School of Health should classify radiofrequency exposure as 2A (probable carcinogen) rather than 2B (possible carcinogen). The American Academy of Pediatrics takes the same position: there is a risk of radiation.
Further education and training of children with the help of technology are impractical. Children are our future, but they have no future if they abuse technology. An integrated approach is needed to reduce the use of technology by children.