David Murray on Protecting Children From Digital Heroin

Did you know that the most tech-cautious parents are tech designers and engineers?

Nick Kardaras, author of Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids—and How to Break the Trance, pointed out in a recent article that “Steve Jobs was a notoriously low-tech parent. Silicon Valley tech executives and engineers enroll their kids in no-tech Waldorf Schools. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page went to no-tech Montessori Schools, as did Amazon creator Jeff Bezos and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.”

What do they know that we don’t?

It’s that iPads, smartphones and Xboxes are a form of digital drug.

  • Recent brain imaging research is showing that they affect the brain’s frontal cortex—which controls executive functioning, including impulse control—in exactly the same way that cocaine does.
  • Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels—the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic—as much as sex.
  • This addictive effect is why Dr. Peter Whybrow, director of neuroscience at UCLA, calls screens “electronic cocaine” and Chinese researchers call them “digital heroin.”
  • Dr. Andrew Doan, the head of addiction research for the Pentagon and the U.S. Navy—who has been researching video game addiction—calls video games and screen technologies “digital pharmakeia” (Greek for drug).
  • Hundreds of clinical studies show that screens increase depression, anxiety and aggression and can even lead to psychotic-like features where the video gamer loses touch with reality.
  • According to a 2013 Policy Statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics, 8- to 10-year-olds spend eight hours a day with various digital media while teenagers spend 11 hours in front of screens.
  • One in three kids are using tablets or smartphones before they can talk.
  • The handbook of “Internet Addiction” by Dr. Kimberly Young states that 18 percent of college-age Internet users in the U.S. suffer from tech addiction.
  • The immersive and addictive world of screens dampens and stunts key developmental processes.

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Source: Church Leaders