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Children and Technology – Why be Concerned

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Children and Technology – Why be Concerned

Find out more at the end of this post about our free parenting webinar and nine giveaways, “The Power of Self-Care in Parenting: A Gift to Your Entire Family Webinar,” with parenting experts and author Cathy Cassani Adams, radio host Todd Adams and HeartMath Education Specialist Jeff Goelitz.

Media technology is here to stay and has become a permanent part of our lives. But there is great concern about how it may be affecting our children. I believe we can learn to embrace its advantages, reduce its adverse effects and raise children who can still relate heart to heart with people, appreciate and participate in the beauty and wonders of nature and grow up to be well rounded, healthy, caring and compassionate adults. The challenge for parents is to understand the benefits and pitfalls of children’s technology use and to help their children create balance in their lives.

Why should we be concerned?

The amount of time children spend using media technology, including computers, cell phones, video games and MP3 players among others, is setting off alarms. The fear is not only that this technology is replacing physical and imaginative play, but that it also may be diminishing development of social skills, heart connection and empathy for others.

Children and teens between ages eight and 18 spend an average of seven hours and 38 minutes daily playing video games, going online and watching TV, and most have no household rules governing how much time they’re allowed to spend doing these things, according to the 2010 study, “Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds,” conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Add to that the time spent eating, sleeping and attending school during the week, and little time is left for anything else such as playing outside or at the playground with other children, participating in athletics, socializing with friends and family or engaging in afterschool and weekend activities.

Studies over the past decade have concluded that a large number of adolescents and teens today are having difficulty identifying emotions in people, thus creating an inability to feel empathy toward others who may be feeling pain, sorrow, anger and other emotions. There is concern that excessive viewing of real or contrived violence online and/or playing video games that are violent or contain other age-inappropriate content could be numbing the sensitivities of young people, immunizing them from experiencing compassion and caring for others.

I strongly encourage parents and adults to closely monitor children’s media technology habits and the time they spend with media, beginning at an early age and continuing through adolescence and the teen years. It’s important to help children to create a balance between their relationship with technology and activities that nurture their social, emotional and physical skills.

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Sara, from Institute of HeartMath

Sara Childre is President and CEO of the non-profit Institute of HeartMath. Since 1991, Sara has helped oversee and develop HeartMath trainings, educational products and scientific programs. She was appointed vice president and CFO of the institute in 1992, then president and CEO in 1998.

61 comments

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4:44AM PST on Jan 20, 2014

EVERY PARENT should be aware that pulsed microwave frequencies emitted by` all' wireless gadgets come under the 2B carcinogen classification by the WHO !! Some might come back with the comment:"Yes, but Coffee is also a 2B classification" But here I must inform you that this goes for TEN cups of coffee !! Ask yourself the question: Would you force your child to drink TEN cups of coffee?? And there is your answer! I also would urge every parent to actually `read' the small print of their IPad instructions! And if you do care for your children pass this link on:
http://rt.com/shows/the-truthseeker/cell-phone-brain-tumors-471/ - you can watch it online and download it as well.

1:58PM PST on Jan 19, 2014

It's part of life, and if adults learn balance, then maybe they can teach it to kids. Thanks.

7:13AM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

Thanks Sara for the interesting article.

7:01AM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

"Parents... send your kids outside!"

Indeed, Kathy P.

2:54AM PDT on Apr 7, 2012

Interesting info, thank you.

2:54AM PDT on Apr 7, 2012

Interesting info, thank you.

10:00AM PST on Mar 10, 2012

Interesting.

2:03AM PST on Feb 18, 2012

Thanks for sharing, and I think we should also keep in mind that all this technology gives off harmful radiation that can adversely affect a child's health!

7:09AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

Children now have access to so very much more information that I ever had access to when I was young (I am 51 years old) - my wife and I have fostered over 20 children and have always encouraged them to use computers and to understand more about them than simply how to press keys and read the screen. Quite a few of them have gone on to get good jobs in the IT industry. We have tried to ensure that whilst they extensively use technology they also spend time with other people, many of whom are also interested in computers etc. Technology has many advantages but like everything else in life it has its' place, everything in moderation!

3:37PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

now a days the technology is essencial in our lifes

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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