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Wired and tired: Screen time linked to downward spiral in kids


Excessive exposure to the artificial light emitted by electronic gadgets is responsible for the increasing number of “wired and tired” kids who are either keyed up and easily enraged or apathetic and depressed. The best way to deal with this problem is to decrease the inordinate amount of time kids spend using electronics every day.

The brain of a child is highly sensitive to electronics. The more time he or she spends staring at a glowing screen, the worse the effects on his or her brain. Interactive screen time involving emails, games, texting, and the use of internet and social media is considered to be the worst cause of cognitive, mood, and sleep problems in kids.

Screen time disrupts sleep, the body clock, and the reward system of the brain

There are many ways through which screen time affects the brain and the health of children. For instance, the light from a screen device mimics daylight. It suppresses melatonin, a sleep signaling molecule that is triggered by darkness.

It only takes a few minutes of screen time to greatly delay the release of melatonin. This disrupts the body clock and leads to brain inflammation, hormonal imbalance, and other negative effects. Furthermore, it prevents deep sleep, the body’s main process of healing.

Screen time desensitizes the natural reward system of the brain. Electronic gaming releases so much dopamine, causing an overuse of the reward pathways that decreases sensitivity to the neurotransmitter. Reduced sensitivity to dopamine also reduces concentration and motivation, which affects how a child feels and acts. (Related: Kids who spend 4 hours a day on gadgets are twice as likely to get LESS sleep.)

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Light-during-night can cause serious depression and stress in kids

Electronics that produce light at night could lead to depression and even the risk of suicide. Animal studies conducted by researchers from John Hopkins University found that exposure to screen time before sleep causes depression-like behaviors in animals. Special cells in the eyes are activated by bright light, affecting the brain’s center for mood, learning, and memory.

Screen time also triggers both acute stress and chronic stress. Stress alters the chemistry in the brain and the hormones in the body. These chemical changes could increase the irritability of a child.

Of particular note is cortisol, the hormone associated with chronic stress. It not only causes depression, it is also released by the body when a person feels depressed. High levels of cortisol perpetuates depression, so anything that increases the stress hormone contributes to moodiness.

Screen time overloads the brain, makes kids lazier, and keeps them away from nature

Screen time overloads the senses with lots of visual and cognitive input. This depletes mental energy, which, in turn, reduces a child’s focus and ability to consider his or her internal and external environment. Many mentally tired children end up coping by getting angry in order to raise their energy levels for a short period of time.

Most importantly, screen time not only reduces the amount of physical activity done by kids, it also decreases beneficial exposure to the outdoors and nature. A study by Stephen Kaplan from the University of Michigan showed that spending time interacting with nature could restore attention, decrease stress, and reduce aggressiveness. It could also enhance the mood of people. Exposure to natural mood enhancers is one of the best natural ways to fight the effects of harmful screen time.

Read BrainDamaged.news for more news about the harmful effects of screen time.

Sources include:

WakingTimes.com

Hub.JHU.edu



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