10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12 – A Rebuttal

Warning: Rant

Trust no one! Who can’t get names and terms right.

I don’t like this article. It’s oversimplifying a complex situation. I started to get a little wary of the author when they said the Canadian Society of Pediatrics instead of the Canadian Paediatric Society.

Then the author lost me completely by referring to all television (TV), videos, video games, computers and multimedia phones as “Technology”. By the real definition of Technology, this author says you’d better keep those dangerous wheels and cultivated foods away from your children.

Ok enough being Pedantic. (Or should it be Paedantic?)

Let’s look at the author’s points.

1. Rapid brain growth

Yes the science here is ok. But the research he states that causes issues only studied television usage. Here’s what the study concluded: “Early television exposure is associated with attentional problems at age 7. Efforts to limit television viewing in early childhood may be warranted, and additional research is needed.

So apparently if you let your kids under 3 watch hours of television 10% of them will have issues with attention at the age of 7. DUH! Regulation screen time is extremely important.

But wait isn’t the author saying, “10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12”? I think its fair to say that the research posted doesn’t support the thesis/tittle.

If you want to ban hand held devices don’t quote a study on television. That’s like saying eating grapes is bad for you because of a study that says wine is bad.

2. Delayed Development

There’s little to no proof on this one and the author must know it if they’re sending us to broken links and ted talks about physical activity in learning. (I’m all for the physical activity)

I guess the author is saying that by using technology, which is a Sedentary activity, it can take time away from Physical activity, or exercise.

Point taken, however I strongly believe that it’s moderation that’s important. Are we going to ban all sedentary activities? Drawing, reading, homework, lego?

3. Epidemic Obesity

This opens a whole other can of worms about obesity and its causes. First off it’s an Obesity Epidemic not an Epidemic Obesity. (The of important order is words)

Yes there is a problem, there has been for almost thirty years. How do hand held devices affect that. The author says there’s a “correlation” but just because two things happen at the same time doesn’t mean one is causing the other.

The growing Ebook market has been getting better over that past 10 years and the amount of water in the great lakes has been going down in the same time period. That’s a correlation. Let’s ban all ebooks and save the water.

4. Sleep Deprivation

This is a valid point but not for banning anything but for parents to take control of their children’s media consumption.

It’s also something the rest of us should watch out for and try to minimize our screen time before bed, or more realistically bring the brightness down on our devices.

5. Mental Illness

Out of all the studies mentioned, one is on internet addiction and alcoholism in Korea, another is a broken link, and another is survey not a study and only about videogames.

This is one good study mention and they found, “Watching TV or playing computer games for more than two hours a day is related to greater psychological difficulties irrespective of how active children are.

Again, two hours a day is excessive and probably indicates other problems.

Moderation is key.

6. Aggression

Video games and violence are hot right now and have been for a while. The two studies mentioned are genuine and kind of scary.

Mimicry is the big issue here and it does happen. Remember the kids who thought they could fly because they had superman costumes?

Talking to your kids about violence and making sure they know what’s right and wrong is important.

Oh and don’t like your kid play GTA or something super violent… duh.

I doubt Nintendogs has caused much violence.

7. Digital Dementia

Oh a nice buzz word. Fox loves this one. It was coined by Manfred Spitzer, a german doctor who’s doom and gloom research says that the internet is rotting our brains permanently.

The two sources in this section, one is a research study about the effects of Television and attention problems in kids. It’s actually the same study as linked in 1 but linked through a different site.

The other source is a book called iBrain which is a catchy title but since it’s a book I can’t validate if it’s actually describing digital dementia.

“Children who can’t pay attention can’t learn.”

That’s terrifying isn’t? It’s also misleading. Attention problems have plagued students for a lot longer than mobile devices have existed and a lot longer than electronic media has existed.

One contributing factor of increased attention problems has to be the improved awareness and diagnostic tools that teachers and doctors have at their disposal.

It’s funny to have an article online using the buzz word of a scientist who is effectively telling us that no one should be online. Dr. Manfred Spitzer says the internet is bad for everyone.

9. Radiation Emissions

Again Radiation is scary. There is NO correlation or causation found in any study that indicates that cellphone usage is related to cancer. Don’t believe me? Check out this link:  http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/cellular-phones

10. Unsustainable

I want to say mean and horrible things here. This point only references the authors own work, and is an ad for the author.

Conclusion

Out of these points a few of them point to the need to supervise kids better but none are convincing enough to make me consider banning all hand held devices. The author can’t even seem to find studies the support their theory.

Moderation

Let’s me be honest with you. I have a B.A. in Communications specializing in media analysis and creation. I’m not a doctor, or a psychologist. In ten years if the grey-matter oozes out of our children’s ears I’ll certainly apologize for being wrong. I don’t think I’ll have to.

The key in everything, not just for children, is moderation. You shouldn’t let your kids run track without stopping for 4 hours straight and you shouldn’t let them sit and marathon every Doctor Who episode ever made straight either. (You know I love Doctor Who but all the episodes together equal 372+ hours)

I believe kids need to learn about new technology and how to use it. It will help them understand the world they’ll live in. That doesn’t mean I think 30 hours of television a week is healthy.

Common sense dictates that we need multiple activities and multiple ways of doing thing in order to be healthy and happy.

Ok that’s enough ranting from me.

5 Responses to 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12 – A Rebuttal

  1. Jen says:

    Your point about ebooks and water made me laugh out loud! Excellent way to explain correlation.
    I read this article yesterday and even though I didn’t click on any links, I knew this was almost completely unsupported. Ridiculous. More of an opinion piece than research.

  2. I actually haven’t had a chance to read the full article and you’re right there is a lot more going with attention deficit and inability to learn, and I would say schools and how they teach is a big part of it. I try to limit tv and handheld devices with my kids but we have good days and bad days, and winter is worse than milder months simply because we’re cooped up indoors more. The whole issue is far more complicated than this. Thank you for your points, I have shared your article to my Facebook page.

  3. […] Aspiring Something: 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12 – A Rebuttal […]

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