How Screen Addiction Is Hurting Children | KERA News

How Screen Addiction Is Hurting Children

Aug 17, 2016

The average child spends more than six hours a day on a smart phone, tablet or computer. So what is all that screen time doing to their brains?

Today on Think, Krys Boyd explored the topic with psychologist Nicholas Kardaras. He’s the author of “Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction is Hijacking our Kids – and How to Break the Trance.”

The KERA Interview

Nicholas Kardaras on

… the effects of video games:

“A 7 and 8-year-old is still developing that sense of what’s real and what’s not and if we intersect in that child’s development, what I call reality blurring, interactive imagery that’s so powerful, we’re impeding and we’re affecting that child’s sense of being able to develop a sense of reality. So the earlier that some of these children begin to play these reality blurring games [the earlier they experience] these sort of psychotic or hallucinatory type of effects. But that’s just one of the pieces of the puzzle of the clinical disorders we’ve seen.”

… how modern tech is different from TV:

“A lot of adults of our generation are seeing the problem through the lens of our own experience as children. ‘Oh, we watch a lot of TV. We’re OK. We didn’t wind up getting some of these clinical disorders.’ So they project that on today’s generation of media. The problem with that assumption is that this generation of media is qualitatively different than from television. Television is passive stimulation. Modern interactive tablets, game boxes, those types of devices … they are much more immersive. They’re much more interactive.    

 … screen time and ADHD:

“All of a sudden now we see this explosion of ADHD. ADHD over the last 10 years has gone up 50 percent. It has gone up five percent a year and there are some neuroscientists and clinicians who think that’s a direct result of being hyper-stimulated - because the more a kid is hyper-stimulated, the more that leads to higher rates of ADHD.”

… screen time in schools:   

“The radiant screen itself has a very hypnotic effect on children. This educational veneer, this is one of the biggest battles that I’m fighting … Every parent wants what’s best for their child, so no parent I think willingly wants to expose their children to something that’s problematic. But what’s happened is that the tech companies have, and I hate to use this language, but they’ve effectively conned school districts into believing that tablets in elementary schools are somehow educational.”