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We are experiencing a bit of a problem with our kids who spend way too much time in front of screens and interacting with electronic devices in stead of each other, friends, books, our dogs and other healthier options. It has now reached a point where our monthly data cap would often run out. We had various discussions with them re this topic, restricted their data use, tried to encourage other alternatives, but it remains an uphill battle. If it is not Minecraft on the PlayStation or laptop, it is YouTube video's on the cell phones, or the latest craze, Pokémon.


While reading up on this modern-day problem, we came across this article It's 'digital heroin: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies. I quote:

Many parents intuitively understand that ubiquitous glowing screens are having a negative effect on kids. We see the aggressive temper tantrums when the devices are taken away and the wandering attention spans when children are not perpetually stimulated by their hyper-arousing devices. Worse, we see children who become bored, apathetic, uninteresting and uninterested when not plugged in.

But it’s even worse than we think.

We now know that those 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...

...That’s right — your kid’s brain on Minecraft looks like a brain on drugs. No wonder we have a hard time peeling kids from their screens and find our little ones agitated when their screen time is interrupted. In addition, 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.


I recognise a few symptoms, especially the getting bored or agitated without their screens, so it is cause for concern. The article also provides some helpful, albeit basic tips as to how to commence with rehab. I would like to invite any comments re this phenomena. Is it really THAT bad, is it not also part of adapting to our modern environment and very important, how to restore (or rekindle interest in) a more balanced lifestyle?

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We now know that those 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.


Screens have not been shown to have such negative effects. The content is more of an issue. A responsible parent should be able to make of the parental controls that are built in to almost all computers nowadays. Parental controls can block games, videos,webpages and limit a child's logon session to a certain time every day. You don't have to buy mobile data for your kid's phone plenty of mobile provider's allow you to opt out and I don't use mobile data on my phone because all the background data usage costs a lot of money. I also don't have a television in my home I can watch everything I want online anyway.


For instance

Most routers will allow you to set mac addresses to not-connect during certain hours (like at night)

Edited by fiveworlds
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Hmm, a difficult one we have thought about in our family. +1


Let us look back ways over history, at least over the time when society was rich enough supply youth with the time and resources for (I hate to use this word) leisure activity, on a widespread and general scale.


In the late Victorian and post Victorian era, mechanical hobbies abounded. Meccano, Hornby and many others spring to mind. Model making was a hobby that carried on into adulthood and enormous effort was put into these.

These hobbies also followed the development of technology.

So steam gave way to IC engines and then to radio and then to amateur electronics, amateur computers (hardware) then software.

In these and other hobbies there was a cycle of constructors and users. Photography is a really good example here. Some like to construct then get bored once they have built it, some really prefer to use and buy kit ready made. Amateur radio is a really good example.


Not all these hobbies are scientific/technological. Fishing is the most popular sport in the UK.


So why am I mentioning these?


Well they have all displayed similar characteristics to those mentioned in the OP.

Has society suffered or benefited from them?


Many have also arrived, burgeoned and then declined.

There used to be at least 5 amateur electronics magazines in the UK.

All have now closed.

Edited by studiot
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Socrates said that most people couldnt handle written text on their own. He feared that for many especially the uneducated reading could trigger confusion and moral disorientation unless the reader was counselled by someone with wisdom. In Platos dialogue, the Phaedrus, written in 360 BCE, Socrates warned that reliance on the written word would weaken individuals memory, and remove from them the responsibility of remembering. Socrates used the Greek word pharmakon -- drug -- as a metaphor for writing, conveying the paradox that reading could be a cure but most likely a poison. Scaremongers would repeat his warning that the text was analogous to a toxic substance for centuries to come.


Edited by wtf
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When I was growing up a lot of the kids including myself were active in religious-based youth groups. Are there youth groups for atheists? I'm assuming here that the parents of these children are atheists, otherwise their kids would likely be active in these groups.

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I am not sure exactly what are you implying Bill Angel..? That this kind of problem would only be relevant to children whose parents are atheists, or that it has become a problem because children are no longer active in religious-based (or atheists) youth groups, or what?

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