As I was emptying my email inbox, a subject line caught my attention, “Is screen or internet addiction a ‘thing’?” Dr Justin Coulson, from Kidspot discusses parents concersn of the tantrums that young children throw when screen time, such as ipads are taken away from their child. He compares these tantrums that are thrown by the children, to those that are thrown when a child is removed from a swing at the park. Coulson says, “challenging behaviour does not offer sufficient evidence of an addiction”.
He links his article to a recent 60 Minutes episode that investigated whether ‘screen addiction’ might be affecting our children. Coulson did not believe that 60 minutes told the
whole story and challenges some of
the claims. He defines addiction as compulsive behaviours that persist despite negative personal and social consequences. Addiction causes distress and interferes with typical daily function; therefore, Coulson states, “only in the most extreme cases can we argue that children are addicted to screens”.
Coulson goes on to discuss why screen time is so appealing to young children and what concerned parents can do to ensure that their children are using screen time wisely. I do believe that children are engaging with screen time more and more, however, it is up to the parents to be smart about its use. It is imperative that parents recognise that although technology does play a significant role in healthy development, “a balanced childhood is best achieved through hands-on, active play and exploration with the real world, and making strong social connections with people that children can see and touch without needing a screen”.
Erin discusses technology addiction in her blog and explores whether it is compromising students’ attitudes to health, physical education and exercise.