A special thanks to Cris Rowan author of The Virtual Child, for her support of this research.

Technology Use

  • Children use an average of 7.5 hours a day of entertainment technology (television, video games, movies, internet, cell phones, iPods and other devices). This figure does not include any educational based technologies.

Kaiser Foundation Report, 2010 http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/8010.pdf

  • As children frequently use 2-3 devices at a time, the total amount of technology usage rises from 7.5 hours to 11 hours per day.

Kaiser Foundation Report, 2010 http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/8010.pdf

  • Over 75% of children have technology in their bedrooms away from parental supervision.

Rideout, V .J, Vandewater, E .A,Wartella, E . A. Zero to six: electronic media in the lives of infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Menlo Park (CA): Kaiser Family Foundation; Fall 2003 .

  • 30% of parents do set rules around technology and of those kids 30% use it less according to Kaiser Foundation.

Kaiser Foundation Report, 2010 http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/8010.pdf

  • The toddler population is using an average of 4.5 hours of technology per day.

Rideout, V .J. , Vandewater, E .A,Wartella, E . A. Zero to six: electronic media in the lives of infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Menlo Park (CA): Kaiser Family Foundation; Fall 2003 .

  •  The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement in 2004 indicating that children 0 to 2 years of age should not be exposed to any form of technology, and elementary-aged children, should be limited to 1 to 2 hours technology per day.
  •  Today’s ‘virtual Child’ is using on average four times the recommended amount of technologies, with grave and long reaching results.

Rowan A. Cris , Virtual Child, p:35

  • One third of the children entering the school system will drop out of high school, failing to achieve job entry literacy.

 

Kershaw,P .British Columbia Business Council and University of British Columbia researchers with the Human Early Learning Partnership. A Comprehensive Policy Framework for Early Human Capital Investment in BC. 2009 .

http://earlylearning.ubc.ca/media/publications/15by15-full-report.pdf

 

  • Fast Paced cartoons can cause there’s a downside to having deficits in executive function

Watching fast-paced cartoons like SpongeBob, even for just 9 minutes, hinders abstract thinking, short-term memory and impulse control in preschoolers.  “What kids watch matters, it’s not just how much they watch,” he said.  They are compromised in their ability to learn and use self-control immediately after watching such shows. Our brains didn’t evolve to process things that happen at this surreal speed, so it becomes exhausting to kids’ brains,” says Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Hospital.  http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/watching-spongebob-makes-preschoolers-slower-thinkers-study-finds/story?id=14482447

 

Health Issues related to overuse of Technology

  • Sedentary lifestyle is resulting in one in three children with developmental delay, and one in six children with obesity at school entry.

Kershaw,P .British Columbia Business Council and University of British Columbia researchers with the Human Early Learning Partnership. A Comprehensive Policy Framework for Early Human Capital Investment in BC. 2009 .

www.earlylearning.ubc .ca/documents/2009/15 by 15-Executive-Summary.pdf

Tremblay,M .S.,Willms, J.D. is the Canadian childhood obesity epidemic related to physical inactivity? International Journal of Obesity. 2005; 27:1100-1105.

  • Every hour of technology use per day is associated with a 10% increased risk of attention problems.

Christakis DA, Zimmerman FJ, DiGiuseppe DL, McCarty CA. Early television exposure and subsequent attentional problems in children. Pediatrics.2004; 11394):708-713.

  • Children who overuse fast paced technologies such as video games, are ‘pruning’ their brains to not access their frontal lobes, known for executive function and impulse control.

Small, G & Vorgan G.iBrian: Surviving the technological alternating the modern mind. Harper Collins Publishers , NY. 2008.

Murray, J., liotti, M., Ingmundson, P.,Mayberg, H., Pu, Y., Zamarripa, F., Liu, Y., Woldorff,M., Gao, J. &Fox, P. Children’s brain activations while viewing televised violence revealed by fMRI. Media Psychology . 2006; 8(1): 25-37.

 

  • Child access to ‘green space’ for 20 minutes a day significantly reduces adhd and 20 minutes of cardio exercise per day significantly increases attention.

Kuo, F.E.&Faber Taylo, A. A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence from a National Study. American Journal of Public Health.2004; 94(9): 1580-1586.

Ratey,J.J. & Hagerman, E. Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Little, Brown and Company, New York. 2008.

 

TV related

  • 25% of babies (0 to 2 years old) have TV in their bedroom and ‘baby TV’ occupies 2.75 hours per day.

 

Christakis,D .A .,Gilkerson, J .,Richards, J .A .,Zimmerman, F . J . ,Garrison,M . M . ,Xu,DV,Gray,S&Yapanel,U .  Audible Television and Decreased Adult Words, Infant vocalizations, and conversational Turns . Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine .2009 ; 163(6):554-558 .  Available at:

http://arcpedi . amaassn . org/cgi/content/full/163/6/554#AUTHINFO

 

  • Infants are spending far more time restrained in “bucket” seat, originally intended for use in cars, watching computer screens and TV, resulting in an increased in infant ‘flathead’ (flattening the back of their skull)  by 600% over the last 5 years.

Jennings,J .T . Conveying the message about optimal infant positions .Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics . 2005; 25(3); 3-18

  • 50% of households have television on all day, as do a growing number of restaurants, cars, and even physician’s waiting rooms causing a dramatic reduction in parent-child communication.

Vanderwater,E.A., Bickham,D. S.,Lee, J.H., Cummings, H.M., Wartella,E.A. & Rideout, V.J. When the television is always on: Heavy television exposure and young chidren’s development. American Behavioral Scientist,2005; 48,562-577.

  • Parents who allow the television to be on all day communicate 80% less with their children, a drop from 941 words per hour to 200 words per hour.

 

Christakis,D .A .,Gilkerson, J .,Richards, J .A .,Zimmerman, F . J . ,Garrison,M . M . ,Xu,DV,Gray,S&Yapanel,U .  Audible Television and Decreased Adult Words, Infant vocalizations, and conversational Turns . Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine .2009 ; 163(6):554-558 .  Available at:

http://arcpedi . amaassn . org/cgi/content/full/163/6/554#AUTHINFO

 

Medication Use and Mental Health:

 

  • 15% of elementary aged children are now taking some form of psychotropic medication, such as stimulants, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and anti-psychotics despite mounting research indicating psychotropic medication is not effective, in many cases proven harmful and in some cases is actually fatal.

Zito, J. M.,Safer, D.J.,dosReis, S., Gardner, J.F., Soeken, K.,Boles, M., Lynch, F.Rising prevalence of antidepressants among US youth. Pediatrics. 2002; 109(5): 721-727.

Raine ADHD Study:Government of Western Australia- Department of Health. Long-term outcomes associated with stimulant medication in the treatment of ADHD in children.

http://www.health.wa.gov.au/publications/documents/MICADHD_Raine_ADHD_Study_report_022010.pdf.

Baughman F. There is no such thing as a psychiatric disorder/disease/chemical imbalance. Public Library of Science Medicine. 2006; 3(7):e318. Available at: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0030318.

Jensen, P.S. & Cooper, J.R. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: State of Science-Best practices.2002. Chapter 10. Public Health and Toxicological Issues Concerning Stimulant Treatment for ADHD.

Vitiello, B. Towbin, K. Stimulant Treatment of ADHD and Risk of Sudden Death in Children. Journal of American Psychiatry. 2009;166;955-957.doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.09050619

  • There is no longer term research for psychotropic medication use by children but the adult research indicating increased risk of suicide and/or violent behavior.

Breggin, P. Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Murder. St. Martin’s press; New York, NY. 2008.

  • Children who use greater than the recommended 1-2 hours per day of technology, have a 60% rise in psychological disorders.

Bristol University: School for Policy Studies News (October 11, 2010). Screen time linked to psychological problems in children. Available at: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/sps/news/2010/107.html

  • One has to wonder if education and health professionals are unknowingly medicating child behavior associated with technology overuse.

Rowan, C.Unplug-Don’t Drug: A Critical Look at the Influence of Technology on Child Behaviour With an Alternative Way of responding Other Than Evaluating and Drugging. Ethical Human psychology and psychiatry: 2010; 12(I):60-67

  • Media violence has been categorized as a ‘public health risk’ in the US due to extensive research documenting links to aggression in both the toddler and the child populations.

Anderson C.A., Gentile D.A., & Buckley, K.E. Violent Video Game effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research and Public Policy. Oxford university Press; Oxford, UK.2007.

Christakis DA, Zimmerman FJ. Violent Television During Preschool is Associated With Antisocial Behavior During School Age. Pediatrics. 2007;120:993-999.

Huesmann, L.R. The Impact of Electronic Media Violence: Scientific Theory and Research. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007;41:S6-13.

  • Stimulant medication use results in tenfold decrease in academic performance.

 

Raine ADHD Study: Government of Western Australia- Department of Health. Long-term outcomes associated with stimulant medication in the treatment of ADHD in children.

http://www.health.wa.gov.au/publications/documents/MICADHD_Raine_ADHD_Study_report_022010.pdf.

 

  • 50% of children on ADHD stimulant medication get depressed and are prescribed antidepressants, and 50% develop obsessive compulsive disorder, which looks like a manic phase of bipolar disorder and are often prescribed lithium.

 

Breggin, P. Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Murder. St. Martin’s press; New York, NY. 2008.

 

  • Delayed, obese, uncommunicative, mentally ill, aggressive, ADHD and illiterate, one third of our new millennium children may actually end up dying before their parents.

BBC News. Obesity’s huge challenge for humans. September 9,2002. Jonathan Amos. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/sci_tech/2002/leicester_2002/2246450.stm