Friday, January 18, 2013

Technology and the evolving brain

Did you know that students, 8-22 year old, get an average of 34 texts per night (after 12 pm)?  Boys are more likely to game during the night.  50% of those kept awake from electronic media had mood and attention issues, including ADHD. One of the biggest problems with this night time activity is that it takes a person out of stage 4 sleep (deep sleep cycle).  Therefore it is recommended that cell phone texting be turned off during one's sleeping hours.
Dr. Gary Johnson

It gives one pause to consider that before a child leaves for college they have spent:
* over 10,000 hours playing video games
* over 350,000 texts
* over 10,000 hours talking on digital cell phones
* over 20,000 hours watching TV (that's 1/6th of their life!)
* watched over 500,000 commercials
* 5,000 hours of book reading (that's 1/24th of their life)

This information was presented by Dr. Gary Johnson, who is with the Clinic for Attention, Learning and Memory.  He spoke earlier in the month for a gathering sponsored by the Hennepin County Juvenile Advisory Committee.

Dr. Johnson noted research that indicates the human brain is evolving. This evolution is happening in an extraordinarily quick time frame, just three generations.  The problem with this evolution is that the skull surrounding brain can not enlarge, therefore something gets reduced.   The brains of children who grew up with technology show strength at processing visual stimuli, especially peripheral and sifting/filtering information. The areas of weakening brain strength include face to face interaction, ability to read subtle non-verbals and empathy. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines for children are as follows: 

* No electronics age two and below
* Limit electronic exposure for preschool children to one half hour a day
* Limit middle school students to one hour per day
* For teens, limit to under two hours per day (out of school)

No comments:

Post a Comment