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The technological generation: How do children consume technology and how is it affected?

At the time it was said that millennials were the technological natives however it is the Z generation who they do not know a world without internet or without a Smartphone.

Technology is a vital part of young people and children as they begin to have contact with all these devices and even own one at a very early age.

Studies show that the average age of having the first cell phone is 10 years old and the first account on a social network is 11 years old, but the most impressive data is undoubtedly the time spent on screens, which is a average of 9 hours a day and the heaviest users can go up to 13 hours a day.

Mental health experts consider these figures alarming, considering that this could be causing irreparable damage to the brains of children and young people. A 2015 study in the "Journal of clinical Psychiatry" found that the rates of cases of hyperactivity diagnosed between 2000 and 2010 have increased by 43% and then from 2010 to 2015 it has increased by 52%. Psychotherapist Thomas Kersting links the rise in diagnoses to the time children spend on screens.

Children's attention today is being affected because they must strive to focus instead of being distracted by technology. Children are having difficulty making eye contact, establishing relationships (antisocial behavior), holding conversations even the fact that children have relationships through screens is affecting their ability to have face-to-face conversations since the brain could be eliminating the Less frequently used pathways to this effect are known as neural pruning.

Neuronal pruning is the destruction of additional synapses between neurons in order to increase the efficiency of neuronal transmissions.

Another impact it can have on children's brains can occur in the
the prefrontal cortex, which does not fully develop until well into the 20s. This region of the brain makes up approximately the 30% of the cerebral cortex and plays a fundamental role in decision-making and the ability to think deeply. Spending a lot of time on screens could be affecting the critical development of this cognitive component.

The last of the effects may be the feeling of addiction that many users develop since a biomechanical reaction is generated that is activated when you receive a notification and then the brain activates the state of recognition or satisfaction, thus releasing dopamine and serotonin. This makes it much more difficult to stay focused on a task and not constantly get distracted to pick up the phone every few minutes. Anxiety is another of the effects that children can feel when they are deprived of their mobile and think that they are missing out on what is happening in the world and what their friends are doing.

technological detox

As parents it is possible to take action in this regard and thus stop irreparable damage to the brain. When you have an infinite source of entertainment at your fingertips, there is no chance that the child will get bored and boredom is one of the triggers for creativity.

To prevent your children from being affected, it is necessary to apply certain techniques or recommendations:

  • Teach children to deal with boredom.
  • That they take spaces of separation with the mobile: parents should restrict the time that children spend on screens to no more than 60 or 90 minutes a day and encourage offline activities such as talking with children since it is a crucial age to communicate with them so they can develop their interpersonal skills.
  • Did you know that on average, parents spend 3 and a half minutes per week having meaningful conversations with their children? This brings us to the next technique which is to establish face-to-face spaces: with the aim of conversing and talking
  • Define spaces without access to devices: mark clear hours during the day when you cannot have a device at hand, for example: dinner time, which fulfills a very important function within a family.
  • The day has gone, what they have learned at school...
  • Be a good role model: lead by example, children learn what they see from their parents.

Let's not forget that screens should never replace good face-to-face conversation, which is vital for communication skills.

 

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