Technology overload: Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12 

| Cris Rowan

Digital dementia
High speed media content can contribute to attention deficit, as well as decreased concentration and memory, due to the brain pruning neuronal tracks to the frontal cortex (Christakis 2004, Small 2008). Children who can’t pay attention can’t learn.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics stateinfants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010). Children and youth use 4-5 times the recommended amount of technology, with serious and often life threatening consequences (Kaiser Foundation 2010, Active Healthy Kids Canada 2012). Handheld devices (cell phones, tablets, electronic games) have dramatically increased the accessibility and usage of technology, especially by very young children (Common Sense Media, 2013). As a pediatric occupational therapist, I’m calling on parents, teachers and governments to ban the use of all handheld devices for children under the age of 12 years. Following are 10 research-based reasons for this ban. Please visit zonein.ca to view the Zone’in Fact Sheet for referenced research.

1. Rapid brain growth
Between 0 and 2 years, infant’s brains triple in size, and continue in a state of rapid development to 21 years of age (Christakis 2011). Early brain development is determined by environmental stimuli, or lack thereof. Stimulation to a developing brain caused by overexposure to technologies (cell phones, internet, iPads, TV), has been shown to be associated with executive functioning and attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity and decreased ability to self-regulate, e.g. tantrums (Small 2008, Pagini 2010).

2. Delayed Development
Technology use restricts movement, which can result in delayed development. One in three children now enter school developmentally delayed, negatively impacting literacy and academic achievement (HELP EDI Maps 2013). Movement enhances attention and learning ability (Ratey 2008). Use of technology under the age of 12 years is detrimental to child development and learning (Rowan 2010).

10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12 | Cris Rowan.

Autism symptoms may disappear by age 3 if treated in infancy, study finds

The Globe and Mail

A new U.S. study has found that infants treated for symptoms of autism spectrum disorder showed no symptoms or signs of developmental delay by they time they reached age 3.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California Davis MIND Institute, reinforces the importance of early detection and intervention, and highlights the role parents can take in their child’s treatment.

Autism symptoms may disappear by age 3 if treated in infancy, study finds – The Globe and Mail.

Poor Sleep Can Lead to False Memories

PSY BLOG

Short of sleep? Your memory could be playing serious tricks on you.

We all know that lack of sleep affects our memory, along with other cognitive abilities.

Sitting in the office, sleep deprived, it’s difficult to remember your own name, let along the ever-lengthening to-do list. But now new research shows that not getting enough sleep increases the chances your mind will actually create false memories.

The study, published in Psychological Science, allowed one group of participants to get a full nights’ sleep, while another had to stay up all night (Frenda et al., 2014).

Poor Sleep Can Lead to False Memories — PsyBlog.

Behavioural Interventions

AutismCanada.org 

Behaviour Analysis is the science of behaviour. Applied behaviour analysis (ABA) is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviours to a meaningful degree.

The Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) approach teaches social, motor, and verbal behaviours as well as reasoning skills. ABA treatment is especially useful in teaching behaviours to children with autism who may otherwise not “pick up” these behaviours on their own as other children would. The ABA approach can be used by a parent, counselor, or certified behaviour analyst.

ABA uses careful behavioural observation and positive reinforcement or prompting to teach each step of a behaviour. A child’s behaviour is reinforced with a reward when he or she performs each of the steps correctly. Undesirable behaviours, or those that interfere with learning and social skills, are watched closely. The goal is to determine what happens to trigger a behaviour, and what happens after that behaviour to reinforce it. The idea is to remove these triggers and reinforcers from the child’s environment. New reinforcers are then used to teach the child a different behaviour in response to the same trigger.

ABA treatment can include any of several established teaching tools, including discrete trial training, incidental teaching, pivotal response training, fluency building, and verbal behaviour (VB).

AutismCanada.org | Treatments: Behavioural.

Creative Therapies and Intellectual Disability

| AIPC Article Library

Sand tray therapy: How the therapy works

In the first half of the last century, British paediatrician and child psychiatrist Margaret Lowenfeld utilised sand and water in combination with small toys to help children express “the inexpressible” after reading H.G. Wells’ observation that his two sons would work out family problems playing on the floor with miniature figures (Zhou, 2009). Lowenfeld added miniatures to the shelves of her therapy rooms, and the first child who came to use them took the figurines over to the sandbox, playing with them there. Thus, it was a child who “invented” what Lowenfeld came to call “The World Technique” (Zhou, 2009). In the 1950s, Jungian analyst Dora Kalff (Zhou, 2009) extended the use of the sand tray to adults, realising that the technique allowed not only the expression of fears and anger in children, but also processes of transcendence and individuation (in adults) which she had been studying with Jung. She called it “sandplay” (Zhou, 2009)

.AIPC Article Library | Creative Therapies and Intellectual Disability.

How cultures around the world think about parenting …

| ideas.ted.com

The crisis of American parenting, as anyone who has looked at the parenting section of a bookstore can attest, is that nobody knows what the hell they’re doing. Yet despite this lack of confidence and apparent absence of knowledge, many American parents zealously believe that their choices carve out their children’s futures. Indeed, they seek the advice of expert after expert in the field in order to succeed at one goal: to raise the happiest, the most successful, and the most well-adjusted leaders of the future.

But what dangers lay in thinking that there is one “right” way to parent? How much of how we parent is actually dictated by our culture? How do the ways we parent express the essentialness of who we are, as a nation?

How cultures around the world think about parenting | ideas.ted.com.

Tips on how to survive a midlife crisis …

| Life | Life & Style | Daily Express

Midlife is a time of transition for women: our children no longer rely on us and will soon leave home, leaving us to wonder “who am I now?”; we may face separation or divorce; our parents are ageing and we have health scares.

We can face all these challenges with heavy hearts and resentment, or we can embrace this new phase in our lives with enthusiasm.

One miserable day after the end of my 21-year marriage, years of tears and grief came flooding out of me. Then a text came in from a girlfriend with the words: “All I can say is it gets better. Go gently, be kind to yourself, and best knickers always.

Tips on how to survive a midlife crisis | Life | Life & Style | Daily Express.

The Surefire First Step to Stop Procrastinating

| Psychology Today

We procrastinate for a variety of reasons—anxiety,perfectionism, lack of motivation, guilt, poor decision-making skills—and some of us wear our procrastination like a badge of honor. It’s not always a bad thing, of course, especially if you work well under pressure and you always end up meeting your deadlines in the end. But for the rest of us who would like to make some headway on the onerous tasks that putting in our rearview mirror would truly make us feel better.

Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., the author of The Friendship Fix and a  teacher at Georgetown University offers an old cognitive -behavioural therapy trick called the five-minute rule.

What’s the idea? …Read

The Surefire First Step to Stop Procrastinating | Psychology Today.