Ok so everyone in this world and their babies use electronic devices on a daily basis to navigate through life on every level. They are an extension of us, consuming a majority of our thoughts and impulses. They have become something that we cannot live without. Let’s step back a little to remember life before we had them. We were more engaged with our families overall, we only knew how to have human to human conversations, we lived much more in the moment, we were far more physically active, and there wasn’t the same level of social pressure to keep up with nor expectations of all things immediate. The flip side to having this technology now is that we can access instant answers and connections and therefore are able to get things done in a fraction of the time then we ever did before. So how do we find a balance. During this Covid time I’ve decided to seize the moment by connecting a little less to electronics and reconnect more with myself, my family and the outdoors. The outcome is that I realize I needed a break and feel less anxious and less pressure by not having my phone glued to me 24/7. Its a freeing feeling and has allowed me to get back to things that I’ve missed doing for years. The consequence to this however is that when I do return to my phone first thing in the morning for 30 minutes and an hour or so in the evening, I see how many messages and emails I’ve missed that I was likely expected to have returned hours earlier.
So, if we are going to rely on technology, namely our phones as much as we do, we must understand the cons which are now beginning to show their effects on us as humans. For instance, the natural blue light from the sun is healthy but the blue light we get from computers is not. After the sun sets and artificial light continues, it disrupts our sleep by suppressing the secretion of melatonin and effects our vision and mental health. Good news- there is blue light filters such as Eyesafe (Health-E), iLLumiShield, RetinaShield (Tech Armor), Retina Armor (Tektide), Frabicon and Cyxus. While this helps, what is the solution then to excessive use of video games which are more addictive then an iPhone? Video games specifically effect boys by creating the expectation of instant gratification, narcissism, cognitive loss, deficit of social skills and a sense of isolation. Scientists warn that because video games only stimulate brain regions that control vision and movement, other parts of the mind responsible for behavior, emotion, and learning could become underdeveloped. Consequently this also leads to obsession, leading to obesity and laziness. Many researchers believe that excessive gaming before age 21 or 22 can physically rewire the brain. Yikes, this all sounds so awful!
Let’s talk now about the effects of social media. Girls are more effected by social media then boys because it attacks their self esteem and image, raising rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior. With a pubescent girl’s body changing to the extent that it does, this only adds a new level of unnecessary pressure and stress.
The long and short of it is, yes there are many educational social media platforms, games, work and research that we use our devices for, BUT one must be disciplined and set specific times for these electronics to ensure there is a not overuse for both you and your child(ten. We should avoid using them after 7pm to ensure proper sleep habits and for children, finding time after school work and outdoor exercise are complete is a great compromise. It’s all about creating a “healthy” habit vs an unhealthy one for us at all ages.