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It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies

It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies | Education news | Scoop.it
Susan* bought her 6-year-old son John an iPad when he was in first grade. “I thought, ‘Why not let him get a jump on things?’ ” she told me during a therapy session. John’s school had begun using the devices with younger and younger grades — and his technology teacher had raved about their educational benefits — so Susan wanted to do what was best for her sandy-haired boy who loved reading and playing baseball.

She started letting John play different educational games on his iPad. Eventually, he discovered Minecraft, which the technology teacher assured her was “just like electronic Lego.” Remembering how much fun she had as a child building and playing with the interlocking plastic blocks, Susan let her son Minecraft his afternoons away.



At first, Susan was quite pleased. John seemed engaged in creative play as he explored the cube-world of the game. She did notice that the game wasn’t quite like the Legos that she remembered — after all, she didn’t have to kill animals and find rare minerals to survive and get to the next level with her beloved old game. But John did seem to really like playing and the school even had a Minecraft club, so how bad could it be?

Still, Susan couldn’t deny she was seeing changes in John. He started getting more and more focused on his game and losing interest in baseball and reading while refusing to do his chores. Some mornings he would wake up and tell her that he could see the cube shapes in his dreams.

Although that concerned her, she thought her son might just be exhibiting an active imagination. As his behavior continued to deteriorate, she tried to take the game away but John threw temper tantrums. His outbursts were so severe that she gave in, still rationalizing to herself over and over again that “it’s educational.”

Then, one night, she realized that something was seriously wrong.

“I walked into his room to check on him. He was supposed to be sleeping — and I was just so frightened…”



She found him sitting up in his bed staring wide-eyed, his bloodshot eyes looking into the distance as his glowing iPad lay next to him. He seemed to be in a trance. Beside herself with panic, Susan had to shake the boy repeatedly to snap him out of it. Distraught, she could not understand how her once-healthy and happy little boy had become so addicted to the game that he wound up in a catatonic stupor.

There’s a reason that the most tech-cautious parents are tech designers and engineers. Steve Jobs was a notoriously low-tech parent. Silicon Valley tech executives and engineers enroll their kids in no-tech Waldorf Schools. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page went to no-tech Montessori Schools, as did Amazon creator Jeff Bezos and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Many parents intuitively understand that ubiquitous glowing screens are having a negative effect on kids. We see the aggressive temper tantrums when the devices are taken away and the wandering attention spans when children are not perpetually stimulated by their hyper-arousing devices. Worse, we see children who become bored, apathetic, uninteresting and uninterested when not plugged in.

But it’s even worse than we think.

We now know that those iPads, smartphones and Xboxes are a form of digital drug. Recent brain imaging research is showing that they affect the brain’s frontal cortex — which controls executive functioning, including impulse control — in exactly the same way that cocaine does. Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels — the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic — as much as sex.

This addictive effect is why Dr. Peter Whybrow, director of neuroscience at UCLA, calls screens “electronic cocaine” and Chinese researchers call them “digital heroin.” In fact, Dr. Andrew Doan, the head of addiction research for the Pentagon and the US Navy — who has been researching video game addiction — calls video games and screen technologies “digital pharmakeia” (Greek for drug).



That’s right — your kid’s brain on Minecraft looks like a brain on drugs. No wonder we have a hard time peeling kids from their screens and find our little ones agitated when their screen time is interrupted. In addition, hundreds of clinical studies show that screens increase depression, anxiety and aggression and can even lead to psychotic-like features where the video gamer loses touch with reality.

In my clinical work with over 1,000 teens over the past 15 years, I have found the old axiom of “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” to be especially true when it comes to tech addiction. Once a kid has crossed the line into true tech addiction, treatment can be very difficult. Indeed, I have found it easier to treat heroin and crystal meth addicts than lost-in-the-matrix video gamers or Facebook-dependent social media addicts.



According to a 2013 Policy Statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics, 8- to 10 year-olds spend 8 hours a day with various digital media while teenagers spend 11 hours in front of screens. One in three kids are using tablets or smartphones before they can talk. Meanwhile, the handbook of “Internet Addiction” by Dr. Kimberly Young states that 18 percent of college-age internet users in the US suffer from tech addiction.

Once a person crosses over the line into full-blown addiction — drug, digital or otherwise — they need to detox before any other kind of therapy can have any chance of being effective. With tech, that means a full digital detox — no computers, no smartphones, no tablets. The extreme digital detox even eliminates television. The prescribed amount of time is four to six weeks; that’s the amount of time that is usually required for a hyper-aroused nervous system to reset itself. But that’s no easy task in our current tech-filled society where screens are ubiquitous. A person can live without drugs or alcohol; with tech addiction, digital temptations are everywhere.

So how do we keep our children from crossing this line? It’s not easy.

The key is to prevent your 4-, 5- or 8-year-old from getting hooked on screens to begin with. That means Lego instead of Minecraft; books instead of iPads; nature and sports instead of TV. If you have to, demand that your child’s school not give them a tablet or Chromebook until they are at least 10 years old (others recommend 12).

Have honest discussions with your child about why you are limiting their screen access. Eat dinner with your children without any electronic devices at the table — just as Steve Jobs used to have tech-free dinners with his kids. Don’t fall victim to “Distracted Parent Syndrome” — as we know from Social Learning Theory, “Monkey see, monkey do.”

When I speak to my 9-year-old twin boys, I have honest conversations with them about why we don’t want them having tablets or playing video games. I explain to them that some kids like playing with their devices so much, they have a hard time stopping or controlling how much they play. I’ve helped them to understand that if they get caught up with screens and Minecraft like some of their friends have, other parts of their lives may suffer: They may not want to play baseball as much; not read books as often; be less interested in science and nature projects; become more disconnected from their real-world friends. Amazingly, they don’t need much convincing as they’ve seen first-hand the changes that some of their little friends have undergone as a result of their excessive screen time.



Developmental psychologists understand that children’s healthy development involves social interaction, creative imaginative play and an engagement with the real, natural world. Unfortunately, the immersive and addictive world of screens dampens and stunts those developmental processes.

We also know that kids are more prone to addictive escape if they feel alone, alienated, purposeless and bored. Thus the solution is often to help kids to connect to meaningful real-life experiences and flesh-and-blood relationships. The engaged child tethered to creative activities and connected to his or her family is less likely to escape into the digital fantasy world. Yet even if a child has the best and most loving support, he or she could fall into the Matrix once they engage with hypnotic screens and experience their addicting effect. After all, about one in 10 people are predisposed towards addictive tendencies.

In the end, my client Susan removed John’s tablet, but recovery was an uphill battle with many bumps and setbacks along the way.

Four years later, after much support and reinforcement, John is doing much better today. He has learned to use a desktop computer in a healthier way, and has gotten some sense of balance back in his life: He’s playing on a baseball team and has several close friends in his middle school. But his mother is still vigilant and remains a positive and proactive force with his tech usage because, as with any addiction, relapse can sneak up in moments of weakness. Making sure that he has healthy outlets, no computer in his bedroom and a nightly tech-free dinner at the dinner table are all part of the solution.

*Patients’ names have been changed.

Dr. Nicholas Kardaras is executive director of The Dunes East Hampton, one of the country’s top rehabs and a former clinical professor at Stony Brook Medicine. His book “Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids — and How to Break the Trance” (St. Martin’s) is out now.
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Fabiana Garcia Marulanda's curator insight, February 27, 2017 7:20 PM

We know that technology have an important role in this 21 century. However, when we we surpass in the use of the technological apparatuses, we start to decrease our cognitives skills also we become addicted to being in contact with these and when it is not so we feel that something is missing when before that did not happen.

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The 5 Best Internet Safety Resources for Teachers (and parents)

The 5 Best Internet Safety Resources for Teachers (and parents) | Education news | Scoop.it
The Internet is one of the greatest tools on the planet for enhancing student learning. It is a smorgasbord of information waiting to be devoured by hungry minds. However, it can also be a dangerous place where students find themselves alone and uneducated about how to handle tricky situations. Use these 5 Best Internet Safety Resources for Teachers to educate yourself and your students about how to be better and safer users of the World Wide Web.

Via Tom D'Amico (@TDOttawa)
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10 Indelible Internet Safety Rules for All of Us to Remember 

10 Indelible Internet Safety Rules for All of Us to Remember  | Education news | Scoop.it

The Internet is an amazing resource for people of all ages. A solid awareness of Information Fluency coupled with a sense of good digital citizenship will keep any Web user on the straight and narrow. But what about beginners? What are the best basic Internet safety rules we can give to young ones who are venturing into cyberspace on their maiden voyage? That’s what this infographic from Pumpic focuses on. It features 10 timeless and trusty Internet safety rules for kids exploring online for the first time.


Via paul rayner
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Πάρε τον έλεγχο των προσωπικών σου δεδομένων στα χέρια σου!

EU production 2012, cartoons © Pierre Kroll


Via Aris P. Louvris
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Oakland school board denies charter for Reems, seeks parcel tax for its high ... - Oakland Local

Oakland school board denies charter for Reems, seeks parcel tax for its high ... - Oakland Local | Education news | Scoop.it
Oakland Local
Oakland school board denies charter for Reems, seeks parcel tax for its high ...
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Olympia school wins Excellence in Arts Education Award - The Olympian

Olympia school wins Excellence in Arts Education Award - The Olympian | Education news | Scoop.it
Olympia school wins Excellence in Arts Education Award The Olympian Avanti students Madeline Poultridge (left) and Elysha French along with math teacher Todd Thedell give playing pointers to Olympia School District staff member Nancy Faaren during...
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What Americans like best about their favorite teachers

What Americans like best about their favorite teachers | Education news | Scoop.it
It may surprise you.
Sotiris Fotiou's insight:

Over 40% of Americans describe the teacher who had the most positive influence in their lives with words such as caring, compassionate, motivating, and inspiring; while just 17% of Americans thought intelligent, knowledgeable, persistent, hard-working, and demanding were words that describe the teacher who had the strongest influence on them.

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Δωρεάν προγράμματα, ελεύθερο λογισμικό ανοικτού κώδικα, εκπαιδευτικές εφαρμογές, free software, open source, freeware

Δωρεάν προγράμματα, ελεύθερο λογισμικό ανοικτού κώδικα, εκπαιδευτικές εφαρμογές, free software, open source, freeware | Education news | Scoop.it
Παρουσιάζουμε δωρεάν προγράμματα, ελεύθερο λογισμικό, ανοικτού κώδικα λογισμικό, εκπαιδευτικές εφαρμογές, ποιοτικά και νόμιμα δωρεάν εργαλεία.
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Content Curation: How To Help Students Learn, Discover and Make Sense of New Topics All By Themselves

Content Curation: How To Help Students Learn, Discover and Make Sense of New Topics All By Themselves | Education news | Scoop.it

Via Robin Good, Dennis T OConnor
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Audrey's curator insight, March 21, 2014 7:30 PM

Curating is about finding and selecting information in order to learn about a subject. Youngsters can be encouraged to do this  pre-school.  This motivational 21st century skill can be encouraged at home. with educational games toys and and books which stimulates interest.  For example children can learn about  science by interacting with Chemistry Lab; Horrible Science - explosive experiments; Newton's Cradle and Science Museum.  By the time they get to school they are already full of curiosity and ready to increase their knowledge.  Audrey curating for www.homeschoolsource.co.uk

Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, March 30, 2014 9:27 AM

By Robin Good,

Here's a short first-hand report highlighting how an 8th grade social studies class teacher (Terri Inloes) has fully leveraged the content curation potential to let her students dive, discover and make sense of topics (in this case social reform movements) that they had not studied before. All by themselves.


Here the steps taken to make this happen:


a) By using the Question Formulation Technique, the teacher prepared pairs of photographs representing each of the reform movements, one picture dating back to the late 19th century, and another representing where that social reform movement stands in today’s society. 


b) After checking out all of the photos, students settled on the pair of pictures that most caught their interest.


c) They brainstormed and refined a set of specific questions, and then shared their thinking with the class. 

d) With the feedback received they selected the topic which they would curate. 

e) At this point students planned their research strategies. By using 5 different graphic organizers from the book Q Tasks, by Carol Koechlin and Sandi Zwaan, students were allowed to choose the one that they thought would help them the most in planning their keyword search strategies. 


f) Students were assigned WordPress blogs and provided basic instructions on how to use them to 

curate and publish their research work.


g) Discovery and real learning kicked in as students proceeded in collaborative groups to research and document their chosen topic. 


You can see some of the outcomes that this assignment produced right here:


General Conclusions

http://tmsredvotingrights.d20blogs.org/2014/02/24/conclusion-3/


Voting Rights Inequality

http://tmsredvotingrights.d20blogs.org/


Mental Health Treatment
http://tmsorangementalhealthcaretreatments.d20blogs.org/


Prohibition Acts

http://tmsorangeprohibitionacts.d20blogs.org/ 

 



A very inspiring example of content curation can be effectively applied in the classroom with impressive results. 


Highly recommended. 9/10


Thanks to Nancy White of Innovations in Education for participating, writing and reporting about it.

 Thanks to Robin Good for the fine summary in this insight.
The ideas here offer a great classroom challenge to students.{Monica}
Glenda Morris's curator insight, April 8, 2014 2:57 PM

Important 21st century skills

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Seven Registration-Free Drawing Tools for Students

Seven Registration-Free Drawing Tools for Students | Education news | Scoop.it
Earlier today Shannon Miller Tweeted about a free drawing tool called Sketch Toy. Students do not have to register to use Sketch Toy and they can download all of their drawings to use in other projects.

Via Karen Bonanno
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Tina Jameson's curator insight, March 27, 2014 6:13 PM

An assessment of several free drawing tools.

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Why You Need A Content Curation Tool (And How To Choose One)

Why You Need A Content Curation Tool (And How To Choose One) | Education news | Scoop.it
Content curation tools are a fantastic way to stay organized, up-to-date and in-the-know. But the number of content curation tools out there can be almost as overwhelming as the amount of articles and blog posts you want to ...

Via Joyce Valenza, Dennis T OConnor
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Felicia Morley's curator insight, April 4, 2014 11:32 AM

add your insight...

JulieLaRoche's curator insight, April 10, 2014 3:14 PM

New to content curation? Wondering if it is a good tool for you? This quick article provides brief bullet points about content aggregation and content discovery and mentions Feedly and Scoop.it as tools. Currently I am testing Scoop.it to gather, read and comment on material online.

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Education 3.0 and the Pedagogy (Andragogy, Heutagogy) of Mobile Learning

Education 3.0 and the Pedagogy (Andragogy, Heutagogy) of Mobile Learning | Education news | Scoop.it
The evolution of the web from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and now to Web 3.0 can be used a metaphor of how education should also be evolving, as a movement based on the evolution from Education 1.0 to Educa...

Via Dr. Susan Bainbridge
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Lyn Hogan's curator insight, March 28, 2014 5:51 PM

All models of education are relevant in different contexts . Education 2.0 & 3.0 are models that require a level of cognitive and developmental sophistication and experience that allow individuals to be able to make decisions.

Ness Crouch's curator insight, March 28, 2014 8:08 PM

I love this graphic I need this on my wall to remind me of how far we have come!

HemsZwier's curator insight, April 9, 2014 3:39 AM

Education  Moving forward!

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5 simple internet safety tips from one of Google's information security engineers

5 simple internet safety tips from one of Google's information security engineers | Education news | Scoop.it
These are so simple that everyone should be following them.

Via Tom D'Amico (@TDOttawa)
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13 Apps and Games for Internet Safety Awareness via GDC

13 Apps and Games for Internet Safety Awareness via GDC | Education news | Scoop.it
Check out these games and apps that will help you teach kids all about Internet safety and the digital citizenship mindset.

Via Tom D'Amico (@TDOttawa)
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Internet-safety ΠΣΔ επίσημος συνεργάτης esafety EUN


Via Aris P. Louvris
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Εξώστης free press - Aντί να πέσεις, πέταξε

Εξώστης free press - Aντί να πέσεις, πέταξε | Education news | Scoop.it
To βραβευμένο animation φιλμ μικρού μήκους Fallin Floydγια τον πόνο της κατάθλιψης, τον έρωτα και τη δύναμη της μουσικής
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School Notes: A trio of honors - Frederick News Post (subscription)

School Notes: A trio of honors - Frederick News Post (subscription) | Education news | Scoop.it
School Notes: A trio of honors
Frederick News Post (subscription)
Frederick County Public Schools was recognized for meeting high financial reporting standards for the sixth consecutive year, FindOutFirst said last month.
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Εξώστης free press - Aντί να πέσεις, πέταξε

Εξώστης free press - Aντί να πέσεις, πέταξε | Education news | Scoop.it
To βραβευμένο animation φιλμ μικρού μήκους Fallin Floydγια τον πόνο της κατάθλιψης, τον έρωτα και τη δύναμη της μουσικής
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What Students Remember Most About Teachers

What Students Remember Most About Teachers | Education news | Scoop.it
at the end of the day, most students won't remember what amazing lesson plans you've created. They won't remember how organized your bulletin boards are. How straight and neat are the desk rows. No, they'll not remember that amazing decor you've designed. But they will remember you.
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The future of education

Videogames, digital pens, holograms and tactile learning platforms could all become the norm as education looks set to change dramatically over the next 30 years. With technology dominating in and outside the classroom, interconnectivity is likely to play a key role in helping students adapt to the changing world around them


Via Szabolcs Kósa
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Rachael Bath's curator insight, March 15, 2014 9:05 AM

Nice thoughts and interesting predictions.

XLPro Training's comment, April 14, 2014 12:58 AM
Nice Predictions....
XLPro Training's comment, April 14, 2014 12:58 AM
Nice Predictions....
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How Assessment Can Lead to Deeper Learning

How Assessment Can Lead to Deeper Learning | Education news | Scoop.it
Most educators, policymakers, and parents agree that today's students need a mix of knowledge, skills, and dispositions to prepare them to be successful and engaged citizens. Given that students need

Via Betina Astride, Ivon Prefontaine, PhD
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Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, March 25, 2014 8:47 PM

Students learn to be engaged citizens by being engaged citizens in their classroom communities not as separate abstract experiences. How students treat each other in the present moment sets the ground for how they will treat others and the world they live in for the future.

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Where To Find the Best Educational Apps for Kids

Where To Find the Best Educational Apps for Kids | Education news | Scoop.it
The best educational apps for kids can be hard to find! We've made it simple for you by adding them right here, broken down by category and age.

Via Karen Bonanno
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A Quick Guide to Using Diigo with Your Students ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

A Quick Guide to Using Diigo with Your Students ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning | Education news | Scoop.it

February 27, 2014
Social bookmarking is an online phenomenon that has seen the light in the last few years particularly with the outburst of web 2.0 technologies or what author Will Richardson calls the read/write web. To put it simply, a social bookmarking service is a web tool that allows you to not only bookmark web documents (as traditional bookmarking did) but also to annotate, edit, tag and share them with others. Social bookmarking can also be a collaborative endeavour in which a group of users share links with the same tags.


Via WebTeachers, Nancy O'Sullivan, Dennis T OConnor
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JordiMarínba's curator insight, March 24, 2014 3:51 AM

Essential for bookmarking your webpages! Highly recommendable!

Bente Elisabeth Ryen's curator insight, March 31, 2014 3:05 PM

Her er en kjekk prezi for lærere som lurer på å bruke diigo i undervisning.

Takudzwa Kunaka's curator insight, April 2, 2014 7:39 AM
e learning is the only way to go