Keep Kids’ Bedrooms Electronics Free

There are times as a parent when your intuition just feels so strong that you’re prepared to be the biggest killjoy on earth in the eyes of your child. Your child will readily tell you that every classmate has a TV in their bedroom, that they have an iPhone, that there’s also a PS4 or other games console in the bedroom.

“So, why can’t i have any of those things in my bedroom?” whiles the child, as though you are the cruelest, most heartless parent and you are condemning your child to a life little removed from that of Oliver Twist. Oh, the poor mite.

I once got very odd looks from a parent when I asked her to not to permit my 10 year old son to play computer games in her home that had ’18’ age ratings on them. her son of the same age was playing them for many hours a day. “Besides, I said, he has a daily limit of one hour screen time (1 1/2 at weekends) and so if he was playing these games he would exceed his daily limit.

back then, six years ago, scientific evidence on these matters was hard to come by, but my intuition was telling me in every sinew of my body that I had to protect my child to whatever extent i could in an environment where others were taking extreme risks with their children.

I get no satisfaction, no desire to scream, “I told you so,” when I read articles like the one linked below;

UPI – Health News – Children Suffer With TV, Video Games in the Bedroom
(click on the link above to read the article)

This article shares evidence from extensive scientific research that gathers irrefutable evidence of the harm being done. We have to remember to be scientific in how we read such articles. It’s no good if someone tells you that their child had these gadgets and has ‘turned out fine.’ Firstly, the full implications might not yet be obvious for that child and you cannot go back and know what they might have achieved/ done/ been if they hadn’t had all that exposure. But, more than that, this is not saying that every child will be adversely impacted. However, the statistical risk is high enough that parents shouldn’t be willing to take these risks.

The figure of 60 hours a week now being spent by many children engaging with screens is a stark and shocking one that should make us all think. I can’t help but think that if any adult today is asked to do anything for 60 hours in a week (e.g. work), many will scream in outrage that it’s an abuse to ask them to exert themselves in such a way.

Yet, we live in a world where the same people will engage in endless conversations about the poor state of the economy, society and the world today. They, of course, were all way too busy to get involved or do more than talk about it (reproducing whatever arguments they received through the media!)

Children are even more vulnerable. We know that in their teen years their fully formed limbic system in their brain is ready to lap up every dose of endorphines, with less restraining influence from the pre frontal cortex as the connections are still not fully formed. Anything that has the propensity to be addictive to adults (drugs, mobile phones etc.) is way more addictive to children in these years. We should be doing more, not less, to limit and insulate them from these potentially dangerous influences

A funny old world, innit!

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