We’ve all been there as parents. Completely exhausted with a whiney kid who is clamouring for another Peppa Pig session on the iPad. Under duress and desperate for a moment of peace, we give in.
But as more and more parents succumb to the easy way out, kids are starting to forget how to play, according to Danish experts. With their little eyes glued to the screen, their imagination is being stifled.
“They’ve designed these apps that constantly release small portions of dopamine. So it can be very hard to given them up,” brain researcher Troels Kjær told Metroxpress newspaper.
“You could go cold turkey – that’s what you do with everything that it addictive. You could start by saying that after 21:00 the phone is switched off. You have to get used to nothing happening and that not mattering.”
According to Kjær, the situation has reached a point where dependency on smartphones and tablets can damage our brains in the long run. But there isn’t really enough research on the subject, so he and some of his colleagues are preparing a massive population study on the issue.
According to psychologist Camilla Bechsgaard, it is essential for children that they experience more than just the bright screens of their devices.
They need to be doing other stimulating activities, such as climbing trees, petting a dog or making a necklace. Being completely dependent on the iPad is hardly positive.
“That’s comparable to going to Fitness World every day and only working on biceps. You’ll be become very strong, but just in your arms. Your legs will dangle like sloppy bits of spaghetti,” Bechsgaard told Metroxpress.
“It’s important that children play across a wide field so they become stimulated differently. That develops their brains.”