3 major revolutions have impacted the way we live today: the Agricultural Revolution helped us to have enough food for all, the Industrial Revolution helped us to use machines to enhance our muscular power, and the Information Revolution helped us to communicate globally with a small chip, on our fingerprints!

But today the Digital Revolution has been like a Tsunami and has invaded our lives completely. The digital medium including internet, artificial intelligence, block chain etc. has made us truly global and brought many spaces together into a 4 D mode !

The speed at which the digital medium has invaded into our lives has been the fastest in more than any other technology in the last 500 years! So much so that even toddlers at the age of 1 year are learning on ipads! It had influences the developing brain, with effects on the motor skills, on language, cognition and perception of visual objects in the developing brain and behaviour and emotions. In the UK, 95% between the age group of 16- 24 years old own a smart phone and checks it on an average of every minute. Whilst 20 % of all adults are online for more than 40 hours/ week, 4.57 billion people worldwide have access to the internet, exponential increase in the last decade. Hence we need to take into consideration the cost benefit ratio of this ever-growing technology!

There is no doubt that digital medium has a huge impact on the way children learn, get entertained and get more knowledge which is definitely positive. But does it have any negative effects on the child’s or on an adolescent brain?

After 2 years of age the brain of a child does not grow in size, it only matures further. The brain has plasticity, the more it learns, the more it matures. There are specialized regions in the brain which are more developed for various functions such as social behaviour, emotions, motor skills, language, analytics etc. These regions keep maturing till they reach their maximum potential at 11 years in girls and 13 years in other regions whilst there are other regions which mature even further till their twenties.

Children who are exposed to increased screen time, beyond what is recommended by WHO, do have a higher risk of developing ADHD and reduced emotional capacity

In the US, the Assembly Bill 27 has been passed to restrict smartphone usage as per WHO guidelines:

  • Infant (less than 1 year of age): Screen time is not recommended.
  • 1-2 years of age: Less than an hour.
  • 2 to 4 years old: No more than one hour.
  • Sedentary behavior due to increased screen time by youngsters has been identified as a risk factor for increased obesity which then leads to many chronic diseases in adulthood.

Early childhood is a period of rapid development and a time when family lifestyle patterns can be adapted to promote health gains“. Hence it is best to achieve good health for a child by doing what is best for the child right from the beginning of his / her life

Thus it is not the technology which is bad; incorrect and overuse of this technology in children, is what is not right!