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June 27, 2017

Screens and Babies

“A child’s brain develops rapidly during those first two years, and they learn best by interacting with people, not screens.”
(American Academy of Pediatrics)

 

One of the most dangerous effects of mobile screens is how it changes our brains’ expectations of reality. Just look at how this one-year-old, after playing with an iPad, gets frustrated with a print magazine’s inability to bend to her distracted will.

 

According to Adam Alter, author of the brilliant new book, “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked,” this infant is “among the first humans to understand the world this way—to believe that she has limitless command over the visual environment, and the ability to overcome the staleness of any experience by welcoming its replacement with a dismissive swipe.”

 

When my two kids were babies, the idea of smartphones and tablets in everyone’s hands and homes were still the stuff of science fiction. Had I owned one, perhaps I would’ve used it to calm my son at the Waffle House that fateful day; I can definitely understand the practice of calming our babies with mobile baby-brain-sitters.

 

But according to several studies, and the strong recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the same screens that soothe our babies will soon enslave our toddlers.

 

Peace begins with pause,

 

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