The Unreal, Unhealthy World Kids Can See Online
No wonder Steve Jobs was low tech at home.
Heavy screen use has been associated with a range of health issues, such as obesity, spinal issues, ocular health problems and sleep disruption. Mental health may be affected, and increasing access to devices may also lead to increased opportunities for cyberbullying.
… Around three-quarters of secondary students already exceed the recommended two-hour limit on daily screen time.
Pediatricians agree. Here’s some more ammo, in case you need any:
– Should the popular Suicide Girls be role models? Would we even know if they were, in local teens’ lives?
– Your kid could end up monitoring a troubled veteran take his life on Facebook:
And then finally the photos, four of them in quick succession, they just got worse. In the final image all you could see was his leg. Deeper cuts crisscrossing the lighter ones that had come before. Jagged punctures. Rivulets running off his thigh. Everything red beneath it. Above that one he’d written ‘Im leakinging good now.'”
– Some kids have ended up nearly killing someone else. See the Slender Man story. (“If 12-year-olds Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser knew that the Internet character they worshipped was a fantasy, why did they want to kill their friend for him?”)
Sleep disruption? As noted in the list of symptoms above? One guesses so (!).
If we think that sort of company is a problem in life, we can be sure it is a problem in online life too. But would we know if our kids were viewing it?
One way of seeing the matter is this: Time, not money, is the currency of the internet.
Money lost can be made again. But no affluence, importance, or good fortune will buy us more than 24 hours a day. So every minute spent obsessing over possibly fake clicks, likes, and profiles is irrecoverable.
And, because screen time is solo time, we could be interacting 24/7 with people who are dangerously more messed up than ourselves—without any local sane person even knowing that someone had better just pull the plug. All the more so when the obsessed person is underage.
Apple founder Steve Jobs, a low-tech parent, was right.
Denyse O’Leary is a Canadian journalist, author, and blogger.