A California-based educators pension fund recently partnered with an investment company to outline what they believe are the dangers of children spending too much time on hand-held devices.
The California state teacher’s retirement system and Jana Partners wrote a letter to Apple on the issue, saying prolonged use of these devices can lead to mental health issues. Closer to home, one child psychologist agrees.
Child psychologist from the Health Services Authority Sophia Chandler said technology is best used responsibly as overdoing it can impact your life.
“If you have young children instead of them running around and picking up cans and making trucks or whatever they do and developing creativity, it’s all there for them, your brain really doesn’t have to figure out how to take a sardine can and how to figure out and make a car or anything like that,” said Mrs. Chandler.
During presentations, Mrs. Chandler uses a graphical breakdown to highlight what she says is an appropriate amount of time to use technology for different age group, for children under two, she does not recommend use until they are 3, but only for an hour a day. For teens between 13 to 18, she recommends two hours a day of technology use and 30 minutes of video games.
“Lots of kids and even currently I can think of some kids who have become so isolated with game playing that they don’t know how to talk to their peers, they don’t really know what’s going on with their peers, everything is translated in terms of the game,” said Mrs. Chandler.
Mrs. Chandler says some critique her and said that playing video games is enhancing motor skills, but she disagrees.
“You’re using those two fingers, but it’s more than these two fingers, so you’re having development physically that’s being stunted by walking literally from the bathroom to the kitchen to get something to eat and back to a video game,” said Mrs. Chandler.
She says 75% of children have technology in their bedrooms and only 30% of children have parents who set any rules regarding technology.
Mrs. Chandler said that parents who are concerned about their child’s technology use should try no-technology days at the home, encouraging the whole family to socialize.