In conversation with Suzi Petrozzi on her Empowered Conversations podcast, about research, real-life experiences and recommendations when it comes to children and technology. We speak to the question: What choices are we making for our children today when it comes to technology and what can we as parents or carers do to ensure that our choices today won’t seem like choice in years to come. Very thought provoking!
Children, gaming and technology
We need to look at both ends of the spectrum to understand how technology is affecting our children: those gaming or using a lot of technology everyday and those who are no longer gaming or have reduced their habits. Why is this so important?
Even if children are no longer participating intensely in gaming there can be residual long-term problems because they miss critical developmental milestones.
We also need to understand and be aware of why and how children are using technology, generally speaking, because prolonged use can impact children’s brain structure and their development.
Impact of Excessive Technology on Children’s Brains
When the brain is constantly receiving heavy stimulation through entertainment, especially through fast moving images often seen in gaming, it will affect the child’s brain development and their capacity to learn.
With constant exposure to high level of stimulation the brain doesn’t have the opportunity to lay down short-term memory which is required for learning.
When children are watching fast moving images it feeds their dopamine and serotonin receptors. What we now know from research is that excessive use of social media and gaming, can have the same impact on their brain as alcohol and drugs.
The question we need to ask ourselves is: Are they using screen for mostly entertainment purpose or mostly education purpose?
What do children need for healthy development?
With increasing use of screens, some reported to spend up to 7 hours a day, our children are missing out basic needs such as good sleep, nutrition, and exercise and movement. If children are spending a lot of time on screens, they are also missing out on a lot of other important things like getting involved in activities, hobbies and sports that can foster a healthy self-esteem.
Young women and technology
Young women are particularly affected by social media. They are more sensitive to comparing themselves to others when on social media. This creates pressure, unrealistic expectations, disconnection from the real world and real relationships. It can be very isolating.
Parents, children and technology
With omnipresence of technology in our lives, children have each access to information. They need the right guidance and direction.
Parents need to be conscious of what choices are we making now that will guide our children into future. “The choices that we are making today won’t seem like choices until it’s too late.” Jill Sweatman.
Parents have a right to know what their children are doing on social media, regardless of the fact that they want to be independent so it’s important to ask the following questions:
As parents we have a duty of care to ensure our children’s development, as well as their future life, is not compromised by excessive use of technology. What we think is little, can become a lot very quickly.
As a parents or carers, when children want to use screen time ask yourself:
How do you know if it’s gone too far?
Families in crosses and getting professional help and making changes at home. It’s not too late. We have generations of children that they are getting what they need. It’s the little things. Stopping with the child. Hugging them. Telling them you love them.
No gaming before school, no devices in bedroom Temper tantrums
Quality of the push back
When they have to have a screen to eat this is challenging?
What can we do as parents, careers and role models?
AS parents we need to be aware of:
The most important things we can do for kids:
Have family meals together and without devices because children need connection.
What does Jill do in her approach when working with children?
To learn more about Jill Sweatman and her work please visit www.jillsweatman.com
Visit Suzi Petrozzi’s website site at www.suzipetrozzi.com to find out more about her work.
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