Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Digital heroin addiction worsening

I have used, though did not invent, the term "digital heroin" to refer to people's addiction the glowing-screen devices, especially smart phone and tablets, and especially by children. Comes now further, abject confirmation. From the Daily Mail, "Generation of child web addicts: Youngsters are becoming so obsessed with the internet they spend more time on YouTube than with friends as parents struggle to keep control of their online usage."
Children have become such screen addicts they are abandoning their friends and hobbies, a major report warns today. Researchers found under-fives spend an hour and 16 minutes a day online. Their screen time rises to four hours and 16 minutes when gaming and television are included. Youngsters aged 12 to 15 average nearly three hours a day on the web – plus two more hours watching TV. The study said YouTube was ‘a near permanent feature’ of many young lives, and seven in ten of those aged 12 to 15 took smartphones to bed. It concluded: ‘Children were watching people on YouTube pursuing hobbies that they did not do themselves or had recently given up offline.’ A growing number of parents admitted to researchers that they had lost control of their children’s online habits.
Next is a report on Nashville's local Fox affiliate, "Study: Increased screen time in young children associated with developmental delays."
A new study from psychologists and doctors in Canada found increased screen time in young children can cause issues with children reaching developmental milestones. Researchers studied 2,441 mothers and children with higher levels of screen time for children aged 24 and 36-months-old. Researchers then examined developmental milestone test results in the same children at 36 and 60-months-old. The study found on average, 24-month-old children were watching 17 hours of television per week, 36-month-olds watched 25 hours per week, and 36-month-olds watched 11 hours per week. The totals reflect findings children on average in the U.S. watch to 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time each day. For each age group, children with increased screen times showed poorer performances on developmental testing when they reached the next age group. Developmental evaluations included communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and personal-social skills. The totals are well above the recommended 1 hour per day of screen time watching high-quality programs. Researchers say about one quarter of children are not developmentally ready for school entry and the trend parallels an increase in screen time use by children.
Many parents use glowing screens as a sedative to pacify their children I have seen this in public too many times to count. But people, these thing are literally addictive, and when children (a) learn they will be given a screen to stop pitching a fit, and (b) they cannot help pitching the fit anyway because they literally are suffering from withdrawal symptoms, then the parent-child-screen interface becomes a self-reinforcing do loop. My kids escaped this, fortunately. Our youngest was 14 when the first smart phone came out and none of them got a smart phone until they were in college (if then). But I have, no kidding, seen infants who cannot even walk yet with their very own smart phones - and now you can buy those phones especially built for small kids (more accurately, for parents of small kids who visually identify those phones with toys, as the makers intend them to do).
Yes, this is sadly real - just click here.
What is the tie-in to these kids' futures? Well, consider that researchers both in the US and Europe have discovered that IQ scores are getting lower, and the younger one is, the greater likelihood his/her IQ is lower than a generation before. And while glowing screens do not seem to explain all the fall, they are absolutely part of it.

Falling IQ scores may explain why politics has turned so nasty

Western IQ scores are falling. Is it computers or something else? Parents, take this seriously!