Elementary students spend an average of 4 hours per day on screen-based recreation. This does not include time spent for school tasks. Many parents might not realize how quickly those hours are adding up, and so they don’t realize what a negative impact technology could be having on their children.

Not all screen time is the same. The negative effects are related to where the screens are located. Screen time in the bedroom or at the supper table is more harmful than in other locations. It also matters if kids are using electronics by themselves or with another person, preferably an adult, and whether they chose the content or had guidance from a parent.

The amount of time students are looking at screens is more important than we first realize. Our children are at risk of becoming psychologically dependent and even addicted to technology. In fact, what is happening in their brains when children are gaming, watching YouTube, or engaging on social media is the same thing that happens in the brains of adults who gamble or use drugs and alcohol. The same brain chemicals are released. The same patterns of addiction start. Researchers are discovering disorders like Internet Gaming Disorder, Problematic Internet Use Disorder, and Social Media Addiction.

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