Jill Robin Payne

Sensory overload, lack of healing sleep, overactive nervous system.  Does this sound like someone you know? Our Media, technology, screen time is driven by our teachers, parents, communities and media which govern all of us.  Or do they?

Urie Bronfenbrenner, a famous American Developmental Psychologist, wondered how come children were different in different societies.  He explains our complex environment through his Bioecological Systems Model; basically saying that people are influenced directly and indirectly by our five systems environment.  

Timing, people, places, things affect child development.  One very important factor is “us” where our biological make up is 50% of the issue. No one person is the same, we are all different and unique.  Everyone has different finger prints, different retina’s, faces, brains, etc.

The point here is that development of human growth is so complicated that there are many theories of what contributes to our development.  So putting blame on one thing, one element, one issue, or one component only answers a “why” temporarily. It may make us feel better giving us a false sense of control if we say it’s because of guns, or because a lack of strong family units or values.  

In Bronfenbrenner’s fifth system: Chronosystem is about “timing.” Timing in life is extremely important and if something happens “too soon, or too much” it can greatly influence a child’s development.  Children are our future and important to the strength of our society and world. Technology is growing so fast that both my 1 year old computer and phone are considered relics or dinosaurs.

Technology isn’t bad or negative; it is how much, when and where we use it that can cause issues.  Just like chocolate, a little is great for you but too much will go on your hips and change your shape. Bandura who is another influential developmental and educational physiologist suggested that repeated practiced behaviors lead to lasting characteristics in the individual (British Journal of Developmental Psychology (2009), 27, 123–143 q 2009 The British Psychological Society).  

The question to ask yourself is how much is too much screen time for children?  How are they learning about life, with people face to face or face to screen?

Pro’s of Technology

  • Early learning
  • Exposure to new ideas and knowledge
  • Increased opportunities for social contact and support

Con’s of Technology

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Neg effects on sleep
  • Poor Attention
  • Verbal communication affected
  • Higher incidence of obesity and depression
  • Exposure to inaccurate, inappropriate or unsafe content and contacts
  • compromised privacy and confidentiality

Some Solutions:

  • Limit screen time
  • Do more physical interaction with child: old fashion play, write on driveway with colored chalk, go to parks, ride bikes, play with physical blocks, read paper books
  • Exercise
  • Healthy nutrition
  • Good sleep
  • No electronics in bed room
  • Nurturing social environment