1 – Brain not fully developed until age 25.
Parents need to manage childhood screen time because their judgment and impulse control center is not fully functioning, the physically can NOT self regulate.
2 – Activities CHANGE your child’s brain.
Your child’s activities will create the neuronal structure for their future brain. Healthy activities make for well balanced fully connected brains while excessive screen use leads to imbalanced and fragmented brains. Young brains need plenty of movement, touch , attachment to family, varied activities and exposure to nature for optimal development of neuronal pathways.
3 – Use it or Lose it!
Around puberty the brain is pruned of neurons that are not being used. There is only a short window of opportunity for important developmental activities to occur. Screens can get in the way of more important activities in a child’s developmental life.
Dr. Victoria Dunkley explains the effects of screens on the overall child, Electronic Screen Syndrome, and how screen overuse can change their brain.
The Teenage Brain is Still on Training Wheels
When our kids spend large amounts of time on screens, they will hard-wire their brain for that activity. Wiring that happens during the formative years of the brain stays with your child for life. Kids, therefore, need their parents to help guide them toward a wide variety of activities and social situations that will help form their brain’s pathways. Otherwise, simple things like making eye contact or even making a phone call can get to be extremely stressful and difficult for the over-screened young adult.
Andrew Doan MD PhD and Julie Doan RN talk to teens about how using too much technology and playing too many video games may cause other areas of the brain to be under-developed.
Read The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults by Frances E. Jensen, found in the Additional Parenting Recommendations section on our Books for Parents page.