Electronic use is another big environmental stressor that we didn’t have 50 years ago. It is recommended now that kids don’t use electronics until the age of 2 or 3. This is a wonderful article that gives reasons on why electronics can be harmful for children: https://www.drbeurkens.com/dangers-overexposure-electronics-kids-mental-physical-health/. From my experience, I don’t recommend electronics for kids under the age of 6. Above 6 to about 14, I don’t recommend kids use electronics for more than 30 minutes a day. Into high school, I would max out screen time at 1-2 hours a day. ‘Reset Your Child’s Brain’ is a great book which gives a map to help eliminate electronic use. Electronics are a completely abnormal stimulus to our brains. In the first years of life, especially the first three, your brain is growing 90% of what it’s going to grow its entire life. If you are putting that abnormal stimulation into your child’s brain as it’s trying to develop, you will see abnormal tendencies.
To put it plainly, if you put bad input in, you will get bad output. Bad input can consist of harmful light frequencies and stimulus and bad output can consist of long-term attention issues like ADHD. Electronics are known to create behavioral issues when you use too much or even any at all. We all know that electronics can make the brain shrink and cause damage to the brain similar to concussions. To put a 2-3 year old in front of an electronic is going to cause massive issues later in life. This could happen to a 12 year old if they get more than 30 minutes to an hour a day. Some kids that come into the office at the age of 12 are getting 4-5 hours of electronics a day, which is insane. I know for a lot of people it’s a babysitter or nanny but it all comes down to wanting to solve the problem. Do you want to take away the electronics and have your kids complain for a little bit, only to find friends outside which is a much healthier scenario or do you want to deal with the negative behaviors or learning disabilities forever.
We know that kids that use more electronics than they should, could end up with addiction issues later in life. The easiest solution is to take electronics out of their life for a long time. When you remove the electronics, kids get a chance to become more socially engaged, make better eye contact, they start to listen better, they start to focus better, and they start to do everyday tasks better.
Electronics make you pay attention for a very short amount of time. Something good happens in the game so you receive dopamine to your brain, pay attention for a short amount of time, then dopamine again. It is a cycle that becomes very addictive. The same thing happens when you take illicit drugs. This is why video games cause attention issues, ADHD, or focus issues. When your brain is trained to receive a hit of dopamine that you get when playing video games, you expect the same thing to occur in real life. That doesn’t happen in the real world though. In the real world we need to be able to focus for long periods of time and we are not rewarded with dopamine.
Getting rid of electronics is a number one priority to avoid attention issues or to fix existing attentional issues. In a world where we are going more and more electronic based, we are going to see a constant increase in attention issues and behavioral issues. 11% of kids in the classroom have been diagnosed with ADHD, but that doesn’t include the kids that haven’t been diagnosed. If you talk with teachers, many think the number is much higher. Many professionals are starting to call these attention issues Executive Functioning Issues instead of ADHD. To sum it up, electronics are just a bad thing and eliminating them from their daily life will make substantial differences in their attention and behavior.