Anxiety – Aggression – Depression – Psychosis! Not the kind of words we would want to use to describe our teenagers. However, these are the conclusions of a clinicians experience on screen addiction in children. And these are the conclusions from Dr Nicholas Kardaras, Author of “Glow Kids”.
However, from what I read and hear we are way beyond addiction and the issue has far more reaching effects than could have been predicted.
Associate Prof. Michael Nagel regarded as one of Australia’s foremost experts in child development (https://michaelnagel.com.au) has what he determines as hours per day guidelines for children as he reflects on the development of the paediatric brain. One hour per day under 12, No hours under five years of age. Over age 12, regulated time. Good luck with that.
We are well outside of those parameters. according to new estimates that a student will spend more than 16,900 hours on a device during the same period of time (Age 5-17) only spending 15,600 hours at school.
The issue is really much broader and requires a deeper level of thought and examination.
In simple terms. cognitive development is being hindered. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that when you read a book your brain must imagine all the parameters. Colours, sounds, landscapes, faces, textures, shapes..imagination is at its peak. When you watch a rich media presentation on a device, you pretty much hang up
The questions at a very local level we must ask are “Are the academic outcomes commensurate with the expectations that and the degree of investment in time, cost and energy on the other. Sadly when I ask this question in wide circles of academia the answer is a resounding no.
Does this mean we should abandon the use of IT in education? Not at all. However, like so many other new pedagogical frontiers, we need both time and balanced research to demonstrate the efficacy of outcomes in academic advancement for the student without a detrimental effect on health and well being.
Right now I would assess we are not even close to either.
Technology appears to be increasing load not reducing it or potentially adding significant distractions to achievement. Based on budget alone we should be having some stern conversations with ourselves. It is for good reason the authors of our technology adorations and infatuations are among the wealthiest companies on the planet. However, whose tail is wagging, whose dog?
We should be revelling in the technology and enjoying its absolute advantages in outcomes for students. If not….why are we engaging in it? The huge side issues of poor communication both written and oral, poor relationship building and the negative addictive sides of the devices both big and small must be carefully considered in our signing up. I personally am a huge fan of the advantages when it comes to presentation areas.
I would be lost without Keynote and a myriad of Apple apps. This, however, does not avoid the most important question we constantly fail to address. We must stop asking what is wrong with it and ask what is right with it?