Loosing Our Kids to Technology

When I was growing up, 16 families including mine shared the same phone line. It was rare when I could talk to a friend.   When could, I couldn’t go to my room to talk in private because the phone was connected by a cord to the outlet.  It is much different today.  Teens have phones in their pockets and can have private conversations anytime and anywhere. Teens Prefer to Be Alone than with Friends The Atlantic published an article about the isolating effects of technology.  Jean M. Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University and the author of Generation Me and iGen, interviewed a 13-year-old girl about her cell phone usage. She reported that instead of being with friends, they preferred being alone in their rooms using Snapchat and other apps to communicate with and in some cases blackmail each other.  The teen stated: “ I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.” She added, “I’ve been on my phone more than I’ve been with actual people,” Excessive Cell Phone Usage Leads to Unhappiness & Depression Studies overwhelmingly reveal the more time teens spend on cell phones, Instagraming, Snapchatting and Facebooking the more unhappy they are, and the less time they spend in these activities, the happier they are. This depression increased dramatically when more than 50% of America owned cell phones. Since then the amount of “boys’ depressive symptoms increased by 21 percent . . . while girls’ increased by 50 percent—more than twice as much.” One distressing warning is “Teens who spend three hours a day or more on electronic devices are 35 percent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide, such as making a suicide plan.”  Increase Fear & Anxiety Social media has other disturbing side effects. When not connected, some teens experience more fear as well as judgment worrying if their…

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Gaming & Dis-Connection

Growing up, my sons loved playing Sonic the Hedge Hog and Zelda.  One even enjoyed it so much he would forget to eat.  When it was time to stop playing, they usually became angry and demanded more time. Now I understand why. Dr. Victoria L. Dunckley, psychiatrist, author of Reset Your Child’s Brain and screen-time expert, explains that when children play video games dopamine “the feel good chemical” is released in their brains “and when they stop they are in a relative state of withdrawal.” She added they may become “tearful, irritable, disorganized, depressed and feel they can’t concentrate.” Gaming is changing our children’s brains and behavior in other ways as well. Video game companies claim that a teen sitting in a room alone playing a video game is not isolating because there are games that can be played on the Internet with people from around the world.  But playing a video game with someone in another state or country is not the same as being with them.  Dr. Daniel Keltner, professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley, states  "In recent years, a wave of studies has documented some incredible emotional and physical health benefits that come from touch. This research is suggesting that touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding, and health." Touch promotes attachment, cooperation, increases compassion and friendship, reduces stress, the risk of disease and increases the immune system. Touch is lost when gaming.  There is no physical interaction, which humans and especially children need. The gamer is alone in the room. There are no celebratory high 5s or knuckle bumps, no pats on the back. nor encouraging nudges . Eye contact is lost, which in some cultures it is a cornerstone of non-verbal communication between individuals. It signals to the other person that you are engaged and listening.  It also indicates that the…

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