A cascade of new scientific evidence from all over the world shows how screen use can badly hurt the development of babies and toddlers. The news comes as more parents rely on tablets, phones, and TVs to calm, distract, or entertain their little children.
Studies published in just the past year paint a dire picture.
The World Health Organization recommends that children under age 2 have no “sedentary screen time.” Instead, babies and toddlers should engage with loving caregivers, move and explore their surroundings using all their senses, and get plenty of sleep.
Screens Disrupt it All
In a US study of mothers during the pandemic, those who allowed their 6-month-olds to use screens let them watch an average of 3 hours a day. “Screen use was relatively common during meals, when going to sleep, while waiting, and to help calm the infant,” the authors write.
That, they conclude, is “an impediment to the relationship between a parent and a child, disrupting maternal responsiveness and interfering with parent-child interactions.”
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Putting warning labels on social media is among strategies to better protect child users being discussed by a U.S. Senate committee.
At the hearing “Protecting Our Children Online,” witnesses called by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary described a digital environment replete with social media harms. They also discussed ways for Congress to act.
Parent Nightmares Continue
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Understanding how dopamine works in the brain may help people achieve better life balance, especially when it comes to using digital devices.
That’s according to Clifford Sussman, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist based in Washington, D.C. who treats children for compulsive video game use and other screen-related mental health disorders.
Using Sussman’s concept, parents have a new way to talk with their kids about digital activities without needing the words “no”, “don’t”, or “addiction.”
What is dopamine?
Dopamine is the chemical released in your brain when you do something exciting that has an instant payoff, such as playing a thrilling video game, seeing your likes on Instagram, or clicking BUY on a nice pair of shoes. We all love that tingly feeling.
“The problem comes when you’re doing this for a really long time. Let’s say hours or even days,” says Dr. Sussman.
Over time, the constant flow of dopamine drives a person to want to repeat the exciting activity. A residual effect is feeling bored when doing other things, including academics.
“When kids binge all weekend on games, they will be more bored of their classes on Monday,” Dr. Sussman observed in this webinar for the Ross Center.
High Versus Low Dopamine Activities
To achieve a balance, Dr. Sussman suggests alternating high-producing dopamine activities (HDAs) with activities that have little dopamine kick. Continue reading →
As the pandemic drags on, you need to be a durable human. Simply being resilient doesn’t cut it anymore. New findings point to why.
White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci wants our response to the COVID vaccine to be as durable as possible.
Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema says only laws with bipartisan backing will be durable.
On Joe Rogan’s podcast, New York University social psychologist Jonathan Haidt spoke of how “parents and teachers should be helping kids develop their innate abilities to grow and learn.” He used “antifragile.”
Lebanese-American essayist Nassim Nicholas says he coined that term because “there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile.”
But, actually—there is. Continue reading →