Saturday, October 28, 2006

Creative Mothering

I just wanted to share an inspiring link on being a creative mother.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Screen Time and Kids

David Walsh has done research about the linkage of brain development to screen time. Here are a few of his ideas:
  • Experience shapes the brain.
  • The prefrontal cortex is the last to be wired. This is located in the front of the head sort of behind the forehead. This is where we think, plan, organize, make decisions and it is the center for impulse control.
  • Recent brain research shows that this particular center does not develop as soon as other refines itself about age 20.
  • Combine this prefrontal cortex development with what is happening with hormone development. Hormones send messages. For boys, it is testosterone flow and for girls, estrogen. Hormones act in concert with neurotransmitters. One primary neurotransmitter is seratonin.
  • Seratonin is a STABALIZER. Think about how hormone flow and seratonin can work together (or not) to hold a mood and actions in check.
  • Now- overlay this with the media revolution...

In early 1999 video games operated on 350,000 polygons/second (Nintendo 64)
Sept 1999 - 3 million polygons per second - (Sega dreamcast)
2000 - 38 mil polygons.sec (Playstation 2)
2001 125 million polygons/sec (X Box, Game Cube)
2006 - 1 Billion polygons/sec (wii, other new games)

How does this relate to kids?
- In the US- there is an average of 4 TVs per household
- 68% of school-age children have TVs in their rooms
- 25% of babies under 2 years have TV in their bedrooms
- 58% of teens have "My space" pages
- 43% of babies under 2 years watch TV regularly
- Kids take the "Wow" factor for granted.

When asked why children under 6 are allowed this sort of TV exposure,
parents say that use of TV is convenient, keeps them busy, reduces
conflict and avoids boredom.

In Korea, their technology is a few years more advanced than in the US. They already have broadband wireless throughout their country. And they have 40 government sponsored programs for video addiction.

  • Storytellers are powerful transmitters of culture and values. TV has become the storyteller in this generation. TV has become the transmitter of culture including values. And TV and video games promote these cultural values- easy, more, fast and fun. Media is taking over the lives of families.
  • TV at meals is pervasive - so there is no social interaction tom reinforce family values and relate to one another, check on each other, show caring and concern for each other.
  • Family members have become isolated and unconnected. Instead there is a connection to TV and to computer games or people on screens.
  • The impact or media on physical health is growing. Being sedentary and the amount of screen time are predictors of overweight.
  • There is a growing impact on sexual norms and behavior (sexually explicit music, images, etc).
  • We are facing new challenges with addictions, cyberbullying, privacy, and safety.
You ask - How about Baby Einstein videos?
Dr .Welsh comments that although the content may be ok, it wires the brain to screen time and screen expectation. Same for all educational videos.

The cultural values of More, Easy, Fast and Fun erodes self-discipline. Self- discipline is a huge school predictor; twice as strong as intelligence. These values weigh against values such as competence, resilience and responsibility.

These facts relate to other concerns in our society.
  • 1/3 of American School teachers are considering leaving the teaching profession. A large part of the reason is student behavior (i.e., self-discipline).
  • We are severely low in qualified teachers.
Electronic entertainment is the second biggest import for the US.
So...what to make of this?
  • It is not the TV. It is not the computer in an of itself. It is about the relationship.
  • It is about parents inability to say NO. Parents indicate that their kids "have a fit" when they turn off the TV.
LimiTV, Mediawise

by Guest blogger:
Karen DeBord, Ph.D.
Professor & Extension Specialist
Child Development
North Carolina State University