On Tuesday our class talked about how new technology has affected our attention spans and essentially rewired our brains. This could turn into a major problem, but honestly, will it convince us to put down our smartphones? Absolutely not. So where do we go from here? How can we avoid this problem? Let me suggest that perhaps the solution should start at home.
The human brain is mostly developed during childhood, especially before the age of 10. In the first months of a child’s life, each neuron in the child’s brain is attaching itself to about 15,000 other neurons. This is incredible stuff, but it also means the way a child is raised from infancy is vitally important to its growth into adulthood. Ultimately, parents, guardians and caregivers of children play a large role in how the child develops. Studies have shown that children who are exposed to fast-paced, colorful, and highly stimulating media tend to be at a higher risk of attention problems. This goes hand-in-hand with new technology, such as iPhone/iPad games, video games, stimulating television shows and the general need for information at the tip of one’s fingertips. If a child is allowed to play video games for several hours a day or if a 10-year-old is given unlimited access to a smartphone and Instagram, then yes, I would argue that this causes a rewiring of the brain. However, if a child’s technology use is monitored and the guardian encourages other types of entertainment, then a lot of damage would be avoided. Our generation may be addicted to our technology, but we still have the ability to put our phones down once in a while because we remember a time when they weren’t always in our hands. By limiting a child’s technology use, you can give him/her experiences outside of a screen.