All parents feel the pressure to not allow their children to fall behind. We receive those messages to teach them letters, numbers, colors and shapes and do this BEFORE kindergarten, if possible. Crazy, right?
Who has time for that? Most of us, as I did when my children were small, work. You come home from a long day and everyone is cranky and tired. So, it’s easy to plop the little ones down in front of an iPad or an educational program. The children are happy, they’re learning, and you’re feeling good about yourself.
Then they get into school and more electronics are introduced via iPads and e-textbooks. Teachers and schools have no choice because it’s cheaper and, besides, “everyone is doing it.” It’s simply a sign of the times.
However, here’s what we’re learning as we travel this new frontier. Electronics (iPads, e-readers, video games, smartphones, social media, etc.) cause our brains to function as if they were on hard drugs, such as heroin.
In an August, 2016 article in the New York Post, Dr. Peter Whybrow, director of neuroscience at UCLA, calls screens “electronic cocaine” and Chinese researchers call them “digital heroin.” In fact, Dr. Andrew Doan, the head of addiction research for the Pentagon and the US Navy — who has been researching video game addiction — calls video games and screen technologies “digital pharmakeia” (Greek for drug).
Most parents sense those glowing screens have a negative impact on children. They’ve tried to take them away or cut back only to see their children act violently with temper tantrums, verbal assault, and sometimes worse. We’ve also seen the apathy and poor attention spans when they are not plugged in, so to speak.
Digital brain imaging is showing the brain’s frontal cortex (controls executive function and decision making and impulse control) looks exactly the same when the brain is engaged in electronic media as it does when the brain is under the effect of cocaine. The technology hyper-arouses the brain just as hard drugs do.
As I wrote in The Lost Boys, we are also discovering that Big Tech knows these dangers. Would you be surprised to learn many tech designers and engineers steer their own children clear of electronics and enroll them in no-tech schools? Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple (maybe one of the most addictive device manufacturers in the world) was a low-tech parent. Curious, isn’t it? Maybe they know something we don’t? As an aside, the Apple logo has always made me think of how Tree of Life apple looked after Eve took her fateful bite.
Upset, yet? Here’s what you can do. The best cure for addiction is prevention. Old advice, but still true. Do not get on the wide path the mainstream is on; take the narrow road— the no-tech or low-tech one. If your children are too cozy with the devices, see my recommendations on how to wean off. Once you’re down to a safer level, maintain this as long as you possibly can.
Matthew 7:13-14 tells us Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Now, Jesus was talking about the path to salvation and admonished us to not follow the ways of the masses because they were on the wrong road. I think it can also be said, this same advice works for many of the activities our culture tells us are proper–such as, get those kiddos on electronics early so they won’t be behind.
I would also add, God’s world is meant to be seen, touched, smelled, and lived in. Electronics rob your children of time in nature and those all-important learning experiences only God’s natural world affords. Don’t let your children miss out on the freedom and creativity outdoor play affords.
God made the world for His children to enjoy and we need to take advantage of it. Let’s focus our lives on God and His ways. And . . . let’s not sacrifice our children’s lives, especially those early years, to the gods of Big Tech.
Have a concern or a success you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it.
(Photo from Pixabay)