Before technology was the phenomenon that it is today, when kids were getting cell phones that weren’t even smart, many parents were worried. The AOL generation was growing up connected to the web and patterns of ADHD, technology addiction, as well as other problems were developing. Now we are faced with generations who will not grow up without a smart device, not knowing what wifi is or where wifi is, or having to wait to develop a quality picture from a disposable camera. Neither parents, psychological professionals, medical professionals, nor professionals in the field of digital technology are oblivious that digital devices can have an adverse effect on kids. Research has proven that the blue light behind the screens of digital devices stimulates the brain in a way similar to drugs. Books have been written about the drug-like effect that unregulated digital interactions can have on children. Developers and designers alike have come forward about intentionally creating “addicting” apps, interfaces, and content for smart devices. Most recently, two leading investors of Apple, the “i” product creators behind iPad and iPhone, sent a public letter to the company about the problem of children and apple products. The two investing parties, an activist hedge fund and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, collectively owning about $2billion in Apple shares, sent the call to arms. According to Quartz, the letter contains an extensive amount of research indicating the harmful effect technology can have on children. “Nearly 80% of teens check their phones hourly, and more than half report feeling addicted to their devices.” Other important points from Quartz’s highlight included:
- 75% of more than 2,300 teachers observe that student’s are having more difficulty focusing in classrooms.
- Teenagers can spend 5 hours or more on their digital devices. If they do, they have a 71% higher likelihood for suicide compared to their peers who spend less than an hour.
- Out of 3,500 parents surveyed for the American Psychological Association, 58% are worried about social media. 48% feel that attempting to regulate screen time is an ongoing challenge.
Does Apple have a responsibility to change their designs, interfaces, and operating systems to reduce children’s addiction to their devices? Some say that the major corporation has more of an opportunity than a responsibility. Others point to the parents and simply say “Do better.” The letter written by investors does highlight the need for parents to be more involved with their children’s technological usage. Parents have choices, starting with the choice to buy a device for their child to begin with. However, Apple could create programming which offers more screen-time limitations, parental management tools, and monitoring within the product. When it comes to the physical and mental health of our children, it is all of our responsibility to step up. Opportunities happen daily for us to intervene, provide guidance, and give support to our children.
Recovery is your child’s responsibility to themselves. With the right treatment program, the entire family can recover while supporting their loved one on a journey to renewal. Call Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center today: 662-598-4214