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  • Writer's pictureColleen Nelson

Electronic Devices - Good or Bad?

Updated: Mar 31, 2023


If you are a part of this modern world, you likely have at least two electronic devices in the room you are in. Phones, tablets, watches, laptops, televisions have become an integral part of our culture. It is how we connect, work, learn, and are entertained. As a mom I cannot help but wonder about the long-term impact these devices will have on our children.


I am creating this post from a pure research standpoint and will rely on the experts and published research to guide the Pros and Cons list for each age group. Based on developmental stages I find it important to break my findings out by age ranges.


Ages 0 - 2

Pros

Cons

Discouraged by the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Ages 3 - 5

Pros

Cons

Kristin Stanberry and Marshall H. Radskind published an assistive technology overview explaining how electronic devices can be used to help with:

· Listening

· Math

· Organization and memory

· Reading

· Writing

According to Mayo Clinic Health System more than 2 hours linked to:

· Obesity

· Irregular Sleep

· Behavior Problems

· Impaired Academic Performance

· Violence

· Less Play Time


Ages 6 - 10

Pros

Cons

Kristin Stanberry and Marshall H. Radskind published an assistive technology overview explaining how electronic devices can be used to help with:

· Listening

· Math

· Organization and memory

· Reading

· Writing

A 2018 study in Malaysia recommends the video Minecraft over other video games as it promoted peak performance and enhanced creativity compared to other games.

According to Mayo Clinic Health System more than 2 hours linked to:

· Obesity

· Irregular Sleep

· Behavior Problems

· Impaired Academic Performance

· Violence

· Less Play Time

Scientific American summarizes a study on children from five to seven-years-old states that TV was a predictor of a slight increase in conduct problems.

Scientific American summarizes a study that indicates screen time replacing face-to-face impairs their ability to read human emotion.

Scientific American summarizes a study that discourages TV and small screens in a child’s bedroom as they are linked to insufficient sleep.

Matondang Journal published a study concluding social media has a significant effect on students including:

· Depression

· Stress

· Anxiety

· Emotional Isolation

· Low Self-Esteem

· Memory Loss

· Self-Harm


Ages 11 - 13

Pros

Cons

Scientific American summarizes a study on adolescence stating instant messages can be a form of emotional release – especially for introverts.

Kristin Stanberry and Marshall H. Radskind published an assistive technology overview explaining how electronic devices can be used to help with:

· Listening

· Math

· Organization and memory

· Reading

· Writing

A 2018 study in Malaysia recommends the video Minecraft over other video games as it promoted peak performance and enhanced creativity compared to other games.

According to Mayo Clinic Health System more than 2 hours linked to:

· Obesity

· Irregular Sleep

· Behavior Problems

· Impaired Academic Performance

· Violence

· Less Play Time

Matondang Journal published a study concluding social media has a significant effect on students including:

· Depression

· Stress

· Anxiety

· Emotional Isolation

· Low Self-Esteem

· Memory Loss

· Self-Harm


Ages 14 - 17

Pros

Cons

Scientific American summarizes a study on adolescence stating instant messages can be a form of emotional release – especially for introverts.

Kristin Stanberry and Marshall H. Radskind published an assistive technology overview explaining how electronic devices can be used to help with:

· Listening

· Math

· Organization and memory

· Reading

· Writing

A 2018 study in Malaysia recommends the video Minecraft over other video games as it promoted peak performance and enhanced creativity compared to other games.

According to Mayo Clinic Health System more than 2 hours linked to:

· Obesity

· Irregular Sleep

· Behavior Problems

· Impaired Academic Performance

· Violence

· Less Play Time

Matondang Journal published a study concluding social media has a significant effect on students including:

· Depression

· Stress

· Anxiety

· Emotional Isolation

· Low Self-Esteem

· Memory Loss

Self-Harm


Ages 18 - 21

Pros

Cons

Kristin Stanberry and Marshall H. Radskind published an assistive technology overview explaining how electronic devices can be used to help with:

· Listening

· Math

· Organization and memory

· Reading

· Writing

Scientific American summarizes a study on college students may stating the multi-tasking student with multiple media streams are less effective than their peers who reduce their electronic device time.

Matondang Journal published a study concluding social media has a significant effect on students including:

· Depression

· Stress

· Anxiety

· Emotional Isolation

· Low Self-Esteem

· Memory Loss

· Self-Harm

Reading the numerous studies, it became clear to me, electronic devises and the apps are not good or bad. The effect technology will have on our children is up to us as parents. Here are my key takeaways:

  1. No screen time before the age of three.

  2. Limit screen time for every member of my house to two hours a day.

  3. Allow some time for Minecraft game playing.

  4. Talk with my child’s doctors about the use of electronic devices for assistive technology.

  5. No social media usage until after the age of 21.

  6. Allow some time for texting or instant messaging for pre-teens and teenagers.

  7. No electronic devices in the bedroom.


I find it serendipitous that as I am completing my research that Shou Zi Chew, CEO of Tik Tok, is testifying before the House of Representatives. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. What people seem to agree on is that the algorithm Tik Tok has created is incredibly effective at keeping us using their tool while they gather data. The tech companies have gotten so good at providing us with content we will be interested in, it is addictive.


Regardless of what is decided about Tik Tok, as parents we need to play an active role in teaching our children how to set boundaries. This is just as important as setting boundaries on junk food. It is just as important to teach moderation. It is important to limit the content they consume in a comparable way we limit when it is appropriate to buy tobacco or alcohol.


We need to create a safe place for our children to play, express, and create. They need to be curious and explore within safe boundaries. Using these seven tips is a great start. I would love to hear your experience on what works to put these guidelines in place for your family. Leave us a comment.


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