Maybe it’s just the Future we’ll have to live with… people connected to their phones and computers, not as a luxury, but as a necessity. The number of people who remember a world without computers is dwindling every day, leaving today’s world to the digital natives. Being native means they’re starting as early as possible; in some cases before they can even talk. We’re running a social experiment with no controls, no limits, and no way of going back if things go poorly. Ten years ago, psychologist Sue Palmer predicted toxic effects from social media and screen time… now she’s following up.
by Sue Palmer in the Daily Mail, Jan 2016
From the article…
…Though I was one of the first to foresee how insidiously technology would penetrate youngsters’ lives, even I’ve been stunned at how quickly even the tiniest have become slaves to screens – and how utterly older ones are defined by their virtual personas. Indeed, when my book came out, Facebook had just hit our shores and we were more concerned with violent video games and children watching too much TV. Seems like ancient history, doesn’t it?
…Because technology moves so fast, and children have embraced it so quickly, it’s been difficult for parents to control it. And when it comes to spending a childhood in front of a screen, this generation are like lab rats. The long-term impact is not known. Even before iPads hit the market in 2010, experts were warning that 80 per cent of children arrived at school with poor co-ordination, due to a sedentary lifestyle.
…One study of families owning them found a third of children under three had their own tablets. Baby shops even sell ‘apptivity seats’ into which a tablet can be slotted to keep toddlers entertained.
…Today’s children have far fewer opportunities for what I call ‘real play’. They are no longer learning through first-hand experiences how to be human and are much less likely to play or socialise outdoors or with others. One of the most depressing examples of a totally screen-based childhood involved a ten-year-old in London. The overweight, pasty-faced little lad told me: ‘I sit in my room and I watch my telly and play on my computer . . . and if I get hungry I text down to my mum and she brings me up a pizza.’