How Much Screen Time is Too Much

15th November 2016

Screen addiction is a real thing. If you are skeptical please read on.

When you are looking at a screen, you get heightened moments of elation, a release of dopamine, a neurochemical associated with pleasure. Other examples of things that release dopamine are alcohol, drugs, sugar (as talked about here) and gambling. 

Addictive things.

This is especially true in adolescents. Even educational tv programming, games or media are virtually worthless to children when not accompanied by conversation and social interaction according to a study explained very well in Extra Credits.

So what can we do? 

First we can acknowledge that some of us use tablets, iPhones and games as a way to distract children so we don’t have to deal with their constant questions. Instead only allow them to play games or watch a device when we are there to talk with them about it and get them to think about what the game or show they are watching could mean. 

Second we can start making these media a way to communicate with children. This is the way to turn what could be an isolating experience (“stop playing your silly videogames for just a second” sound familiar?) and turn it into a social one.

Teaching children strategies to deal with the vast amount of information in the world is preferable to controlling and limiting their experience, but we really need to start getting better about analysing the effects of these new technologies so we can help children to grow up with healthy brains.

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