Parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents, consider this. You enter the space of a child or adolescent who is on a smart phone, ipad, tablet, computer, x-box etc…… and you try to engage them in conversation. The response you get may be something like urghh. You try again and with great effort they tear their eyes away and will perhaps give you a short vague sentence and are clearly annoyed. The next thing you know they have moved to a different room. You now realize your beloved child is not spending much time with his peers, is not getting out of the house much and is irritable when you ask them to stop playing. What’s happened to the sunny, happy, talkative child you used to know?
Recently an article came out talking about the negative effects of digital games. It explains how video games and the technology involved is so arousing it raises dopamine levels in the brain. Brain imaging has shown the cortex is affected similarly to drug use. So it makes sense why this lovely child is more interested in being “plugged in” than interacting with people, reading or being outside, it’s more stimulating and “feels good”. A long time ago a cocaine addict explained his experience to me like this: when he was using, life had the sharpest colors imaginable and the surround sound was the best anyone could buy. When he wasn’t using it was like being in an old black and white movie with a fuzzy picture and no sound. That might not apply to all but it does help one understand the difference between real life and what is at ones finger tips. Given the technology today it can be hard for regular people, ball games, books or mothernature to compete with the color, action, realism, excitement and sound of these fast moving games.
Yes there is some debate about this, however when a person continues to do something that is affecting other areas of their life negatively it needs to considered. Clearly the internet, technology and all involved with it is a crucial part of our lives. So what do we do? Get informed. Limit the time kids are on-line/playing video games. Talk to them of your concerns and get them outside, interact with others, develop other hobbies or leisure activities, be involved with them, and be a good role model. As a grandparent I am going to try hard to do this and my grandchildrens’future gifts will not be video games, rather they will encourage (I hope) things such as swimming, reading, fishing and doing things as a family.
Wondering what to do? Check out material from the Lost and Found Library or talk to Beth at 218-287-2089.
Kardaras, N. (2016, August, 27). It’s digital heroin: how screens turn kids into psychotic junkies. New York Post. Retrieved from http://nypost.com/2016/08/27/its-digital-heroin-how-screens-turn-kids-into-psychotic-junkies/
Rosenblum, A. (2016, September/October). Warped reality. What will it mean when millions of people play-and kill- in virtual reality? Psychology Today Magazine. (Volume),
Video games and children: playing with violence. (June 2015) American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. No. 91. Retrieved from http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-and-Video-Games-Playing-with-Violence-091.aspx