Page 5 - Hymers Review
P. 5

There are two issues I want to raise, which might get us to start taking this problem more seriously at home.
The  rst is the issue of addiction. Children’s screen time has been rapidly increasing.
Teenagers typically spend in the region of 9 hours a day online. Older teenagers, on average, check their phone 2,500 times per day. The top 10% look at their phone 5,500 times per day.
Every time a child checks his/her phone, their brain releases a chemical called dopamine.
This is the chemical which the brain releases when you gamble, take drugs, drink, watch pornography or play a computer game. This has important consequences for the child’s developing brain.
It is also the reason they can go into a meltdown when you take their phone away. They are experiencing a form of withdrawal symptoms. Computer games and social media sites are speci cally designed to keep children on them as long as possible. In other words they are designed to be addictive.
It is also worth bearing in mind that time spent looking at a screen is at the cost of real face to face interaction. This is important because it is how our children learn about social relationships.
The second less serious, but nevertheless important issue is what happens to their thinking when they look at their phone. The research is now quite clear. If you look at your phone for even a second, it takes 25 minutes for your thinking to return to the level prior to checking your phone. This has huge implications for productivity generally, but is especially relevant to children and their school work. Many teenagers  nd it di cult to do their work without their phone at hand; they are anxious that they will miss something. However, there are two important consequences of this phone checking. Firstly, assignments will take substantially longer than they should and, secondly, the work will be of an inferior quality to that which could be produced if they turned their phones o  before they started.
So to conclude – do not ban mobile phones entirely; instead, work with your children and agree on some ground rules such as to have electronic shutdowns in the evening, no mobile phones on while completing homework and no mobile phones at the dinner table.
As with most things in life, there is nothing wrong with a bit of balance.
David Elstone
Open Morning HCA’s Gin & Cheese Evening
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