That exchange was the beginning of an eye-opening, decade-long exploration into the clinical and neurological impacts of screens on kids. What I discovered shocked me: Current clinical research correlates screen tech with disorders like ADHD, addiction, anxiety, depression, increased aggression, and even psychosis.
Screens and Addiction Dr. Indiana University School of Medicine Brain Imaging Study finds that video game playing alters the brain in the same way that drug addiction does: According to a groundbreaking study conducted by Koepp et al in , video games increase dopamine in the brain as much as sex does approximately percent increase. Glowing screens are such a powerful drug that the University of Washington has been using a virtual reality video game to help military burn victims with pain management during their treatments.
A wonderful use of screen technology for pain-management medicine but, unfortunately, we are also unwittingly giving this digital morphine to kids. Andrew Doan, head of Addiction Research for the U. Research shows that when the brain is stimulated, that arousal mechanism also stimulates the pituitary gland through the hypothalamus. In what has been called the largest and most comprehensive brain study to date on video gamers, the brain scans of adolescent boys described as video game addicts were examined.
The researchers found indisputable evidence that the brains of video game—addicted boys are wired differently and that chronic video game playing was associated with increased hyperconnectivity between several pairs of brain networks that are often seen in addiction.
The researchers point out that those with internet gaming disorder are so obsessed with and addicted to their video games that they often give up eating and sleeping in order to play them. A Brain Imaging Study finds that the brains of video-gamers mirror damage done by drug addiction: A research team led by Dr.
Their study compared the brains of 17 IAD subjects and used as a control 16 healthy subjects. According to their findings, Dr. Brain areas affected included the important frontal lobe, which governs executive functions such as planning and impulse control, critical in addiction and ADHD.
Screens and Psychosis Other clinical research is pointing towards video games contributing to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and psychosis: Mark Griffiths and Dr. In three studies with more than 1, video-gamers, all had, at some point, experienced GTP. Joel Gold, a psychiatrist at NYU, and his brother, Ian, a psychiatrist at McGill University, are investigating whether the reality-severing aspects of technology can lead to hallucinations, delusions and genuine psychosis.
Stanford psychiatrist and author Dr. Elias Aboujaoude is studying whether some digital avatars, popular in games such as Second Life, could clinically qualify as a form of alter ego. These disrupted systems can then create — or exacerbate — disorders such as ADHD, depression, oppositional defiant disorder, and anxiety.
In a Iowa State University study published in the journal Pediatrics, viewing television and playing video games each are associated with increased subsequent attention problems in childhood. Six to twelve-year-olds who spent more than two hours a day playing video games or watching TV had trouble paying attention in school and were 1.
Christakis found that the more TV a child watches between the ages of one and three, the greater the likelihood that they would develop an attention problem by age seven. A Missouri State University study of kids showed that 30 percent of internet users showed signs of depression and that the depressed kids were the most intense web users.
A study in the journal Comprehensive Psychiatry that looked at 2, seventh-graders found that internet addiction exacerbated depression, hostility, and social anxiety. A study done in Pakistan with graduate students found that there is positive correlation between internet addiction and depression and anxiety: The more one is addicted to it the more one is psychologically depressed. The participants were 1, high school students living in a city who completed the self-reported measures of the Internet Addiction Scale, the Korean version of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-Major Depression Disorder-Simple Questionnaire and the Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire-Junior.
The mechanism for this increase in depressed mood? Hypernetworking teens were found to be 69 percent more likely to have tried sex, 60 percent more likely to report four or more sexual partners, 84 percent more likely to have used illegal drugs, and 94 percent more likely to have been in a physical fight. The researchers indicated that such teens have a lot in common with compulsive gamblers including loss of sleep because of the activity, problems cutting back on the activity, and a tendency to lie to cover up the amount of time they are doing it.
The study of more than eighth- and 11th-graders found that only 35 percent of teens socialize face-to-face anymore, compared with a whopping 63 percent of teens who now communicate mostly via text message and average texts per day.
In a study published in the journal Social Indicators Research, Dr. Twenge, a San Diego State University psychology professor, analyzed data from nearly seven million teenagers and adults from across the country and found that more people reported symptoms of depression than in the s. According to that study, teens are 74 percent more likely to have trouble sleeping and twice as likely to see a professional for mental health issues than their s counterparts.
Screens and Phones in the Classroom A study published by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics showed that grades improved when phones were removed from the classroom. The impact on underachieving students — mostly poor and special education — was even more significant: More technology only magnifies socioeconomic disparities, and the only way to avoid that is non-technological. In , when a reporter suggested that his children must love the just-released iPad, he replied: We limit how much technology our kids use at home.
In a interview for Wired magazine, Steve Jobs expressed a very clear anti-tech-in-the-classroom opinion: No amount of technology will make a dent. Jane Healy spent years doing research into computer use in schools and had expected to find that computers in the classroom would be beneficial for learning; yet she found exactly the opposite and was dismayed by the lack of research indicating any benefit.
John Vallance is headmaster of the top school in Australia, Sydney Grammar, and has removed technology from his prestigious school — which has produced three prime ministers. The conclusion of the public health community, based on over 30 years of research, is that viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior, particularly in children.
Other acts of violence against parents i. Adam Lanza, the school shooter responsible for the Newtown, Conn. Law enforcement authorities have speculated that his shootings were the result of his video game psychosis.
Implications for Their Addictive Behaviors. Foehr, and Donald F. Media in the Lives of 8- to Year Olds. A Voxel-Based Morphometry Study.