Chinese officials are now treating screen addiction as a disorder and placing children in rehabilitation centers where no media is allowed.
In China, children suffering from an addiction to electronic devices are treated for a clinical disorder, and the country has rehabilitation centers where afflicted youth are confined for months without any form of electronic media.
Do you know someone young who could benefit from such a procedure?
The Public Broadcasting System televised a documentary “Web Junkie’’ on July 13 that shows just how far China is going to deal with the problem of screen addiction.
Back in the states, the New York Times last week published stories related to what American doctors have to say about the problem of our children and their addiction to their iPads, tablets, iPhones and other devices.
The problem, according to doctors, is that there are young Americans who will not leave their screens for even the most basic needs in life, including eating properly, sleeping well or communicating with family members. There are hundreds of examples of children who don’t believe the real world is “real” at all.
But the loss of social skills as a result of spending too much time with electronic devices is only one area of concern. The other area, far more important, is that kids are killing their brains.
Psychology Today lists multiple studies done by Chinese researchers that show a child’s brain is negative affected in the front lobe, which governs all of the executive functions including planning, organizing, prioritizing and impulse control. There was also at least one finding that screen addictions can lead to damage to the area of the brain that promotes the ability to develop empathy and compassion for others.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says children should not be exposed to any electronic media before the age of 2. “A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens,’’ the Academy states in an official release.
When television became an acceptable form of babysitting, parents started children out on a path toward addiction to electronics. Experts are now saying that parents who themselves are addicted to their devices are showing their children that such tethering and constant exposure is an acceptable way to live.
“As parents, we have an opportunity to guide our kids so that they can learn habits that help them make use of the digital world, without being swallowed whole by it,’’ said family therapist Susan Stiffelman in a Huffington Post report.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.