Nadine and I were at the airport the other night and were ready to fly home to Colorado. We love to be 1 1/2 to 2 hours at the airport before our flight leaves so we aren’t stressed like my children who love to push the window of not catching their flights. Anyway back to the story.
As we were sitting there waiting for our flight, I caught a glimpse across the way four children belonging to one mother, all of them working on electronic gadgets playing games. The children ranged from 3-7 and all of them were engrossed in competing against the computer for supremacy. They had been playing for some time with no mother in sight. I assumed that the older lady sitting a few seats from them was their grandmother which bore out later. After about 15 minutes, the mother emerged from the airport and wanted them to all go to the bathroom with her before the airplane arrived. They weren’t having any of that because they were addicted to their games. She prevailed as they went with her kicking and screaming.
I later began to look at the staggering studies regarding children who are addicted to video games. It’s interesting to note that executives of gaming businesses for kids don’t allow their children to go to schools who have ready access to I-pads and tablets. They don’t want their children exposed to the addictive nature of apps and games for children, yet they spend all of their working days developing apps to lure other children into the addictive cycle of electronics.
Lustig studies found that be it sugar or heroin, the brain responds the same way when exposed to technology. The brain over-releases dopamine, over-excite and kill neurons, leading to addiction. I read in another study that kids spend 8-11 hours on electronic equipment every day, more than half of their waking day. I could go on and on regarding the literature out there about the addictive nature of electronics and social media.
On this journey it is very easy to give a child an electronic device and allow him or her to become engrossed. It’s an easy baby sitter. The harder choice is to limit their exposure so that they can develop their minds and bodies in activities that can nurture the soul. Choose wisely.