Screen Damage

Anna Decker, Co-editor-in-chief

The television program 60 minutes is a popular broadcast on the CBS network and is watched by millions of people throughout the U.S. The news program is centered around the reporters and their personal investigations on various topics. Topics range from nation-wide issues to smaller personal inquiries centered around an individual. One of the most recent episodes has raised the eyebrows of many parents. The report was on the effects of excessive amounts of “screen time” on young children who were exposed to modern technology at a very young age.

This worry in parents is not a new feeling; ever since television became common in households generations ago, mothers and fathers feared the effects it would have on their kids. And I’m sure even long before that, the same feeling came with the radio. The reason attention is drawn to the effects of technology on young kids is simple: children are being exposed to immense amounts of screen time at the most crucial stages of their developing brains.

One study that was discussed on the 60 minutes episode was done with toddlers around age three. The person conducting the experiment would let the child play with a normal guitar Elmo toy for a certain amount of time. Then, they would allow the toddler to play with an iPad for the same amount of time. At the end of both play sessions, the person conducting the experiment was to ask the child to give the toy back. Throughout every trial, it was seen that the child gave a harder time giving up the iPad. This shows us how addictive these type of devices can be to a child of this age. Their developing  minds are extremely impressionable. This could be dangerous when exposing them to unhealthy habits, such as excessive time in front of a screen.

Almost every day, I hear from my mom to “put down the phone.” Or to “stop constantly texting.”  Or to “pay attention to the world around you.” I am sure teens all over hear similar statements from their parents. Growing up in a world driven by technology, we find it harder to imagine not being surrounded by it. Constant access to the internet and non stop communication with our friends, we see as normal, unlike our parents, who did not have the same experience. This causes the gap in understanding between parent and child to widen. Many argue that this technology age we are experiencing is having a positive influence on us. We are able to share and spread ideas easily and have access to information we normally would not. But others argue that the excessive amount of “screen time” that children and teens are experiencing is unhealthy and will have long term effects on development of the brain, as well as the social communication skills.  

Personally, I agree with both sides of the argument. I believe the best way to healthily raise children in our tech savy day and age is understanding moderation. One way to do this is through the new feature that the iPhone update is offering. It allows the user to set a time limit on the number of hours allowed on certain apps. You can limit apps by category: social media, entertainment, creativity. Or you can simply pick and chose. Once you have reached your set time limit, the app shuts you out from opening it for the rest of the day. I find this very helpful when trying to go on my phone less during the day, knowing I only have a certain amount of time. I also find it interesting that even with the extreme growth in technology, we as a society are aware of the harmful aspects of it. Hopefully this awareness, as well as the presence of features like the one on the iPhone, can help us moderate ourselves.