Technology: Friend or Foe?

I’m a millennial, the last generation to experience life before the internet, but that doesn’t mean we’re immune to technology addiction, and neither are our parents, grandparents, and children.

Technology has become a normal part of our daily lives. All you have to do is go into a waiting room, coffee shop, airport, restaurant (the list goes on) to see it. All eyes on screens. Watching a movie, scrolling on social media, playing a video game. And with the pandemic going on for the past 2 years, we’ve all been thrust into a new normal of being in front of a computer more than we’ve ever been before. This has opened a new Pandora’s box of psychological and physiological effects on not just children, but everyone. We are getting significantly more blue light throughout the day, which slows the body’s production of melatonin, which disrupts our sleep, which affects the way our brains function, our mood, and our overall health.

Too much technology can have detrimental effects on our well-being. That’s not to say that all screen time is bad.

There are plenty of ways that electronics have been helpful. They give us the opportunity to connect with others in times that we otherwise would not have been able to. Technology has given us the means to learn information in seconds that before would have taken days (or longer!). I wouldn’t be able to share my thoughts with you all if it weren’t for technology. Certain apps are actually great for improving self-regulation, communication, and visual motor skills. Some people who are more visual learners benefit from all that technology has to offer. *Side note: I am in no way claiming to be a saint when it comes to my screen time. In fact, I’d be embarrassed to show you my hours per day of screen time on my phone. But I am aware that there needs to be a healthy balance. Everything in moderation and all that. The reality is that children are spending a disproportionate amount of time in front of screens, but digital media isn’t going away anytime soon, so we should be looking at more proactive ways to monitor electronic use for younger children.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology has some useful guidelines to help manage screen time in a healthy way. For children on the autism spectrum, I found a useful article with some strategies to navigate screen time here.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics the acceptable amount of screen time for children are:

  • No screen time for children under 2
  • One hour per day for children 2 to 12
  • Two hours per day for teens and adults

How does your screen time weigh up against this recommendation? Have you noticed a difference in your body and brain depending on how much screen time you’ve racked up? Leave a comment below and let me know!