Perhaps you’ve read one of our early blogs that addressed the impact that digital devices are having on our children and a growing inability of today’s kids to communicate with words.
Now, Jennifer Jolly in a blog that was posted in “Well” of the New York Times, addresses the same issue from a different perspective.
Ms. Jolly writes about a new movie documentary, “Screenagers” and her interview with the film’s Director, Dr. Delaney Ruston, a physician serving as filmmaker in residence at Stony Brook Medicine in New York.
Ms. Jolly claims that the average American child today spends more time involved with electronic media than their time in school. Like so many things in our lives, too much of a “good thing” may, in fact, not be such a good thing.
Dr. Ruston got the idea to make the film recognizing that, as a parent, she was finding it difficult to manage the time her own kids were totally consumed by playing games and engaged in social media on their phones or computers. She easily discovered that other parents were expressing their frustration, as well, and they felt “paralyzed” in their inability to deal with what was referred to as “screen overload.” Moreover, as a primary care physician, she felt that she needed to better understand what impact the excessive use of our new digital technology might be having on our children.
There are no surprise findings here. We all know that the Frontal cortex – the part of our brain that governs planning, decision-making, and impulse control, is not fully developed until our 20s. Additionally, while engaged in these pleasure-producing “screen-time” activities, the body releases dopamine to the brain’s reward centers; the same chemical that is released in activities such as drinking alcohol or taking drugs. According to Dr. Ruston, the M.R.I. brain scans of those who play video games for three or more hours daily, reveal similar brain patterns to those addicted to drugs.