Why Delay Smartphone Use?

1) SCREEN TIME: TOO MUCH, TOO EASY

2) PERSUASIVE DESIGN KEEPS KIDS HOOKED

3) NEGATIVE HEALTH AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

4) WE ARE WHAT WE CONSUME


Let’s Change the Culture!

● WE CAN CHOOSE ANOTHER OPTION FOR COMMUNICATION

● WE CAN FILL KIDS’ DAYS WITH HEALTHY BRAIN-BUILDING ACTIVITIES

● WE CAN DELAY SMARTPHONE USE


1. SCREEN TIME: TOO MUCH, TOO EASY

Smartphones give kids constant, easy access to the internet, games and social media. This quickly adds up to way too much screen time as well as exposure to content that may not be appropriate for a child’s age or developmental stage.

Learn More:

  • Screenagers, a film created by Dr. Delaney Ruston outlines the problem well. Watch the Screenagers trailer


2. PERSUASIVE DESIGN

Perusasive Design (or persusive technology) is the use of psychology and neuroscience in the design process to change human attitudes and behaviors through persuasion and social influence. Although some forms are used for positive change, many more are used simply to keep us engaged with an app for as long as possible. This is often called “the attention economy”.

More time on an app = more profits for the company.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MY CHILD?

  • Behind every app- especially in games and social media- is an army of experts working to exploit your child’s vulnerabilities and manipulate your child’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors--for company profit. The development and well-being of children is not taken into consideration.

  • Children are more vulnerable to persuasive design techniques because the frontal lobe of a human brain is not fully developed until age 25 or later. The frontal lobe is responsible for impulse control, self-management, future planning, decision-making, empathy and more. Therefore, developmentally, children and teens are not fully able to self-regulate device use. They need our help!

IS THIS ETHICAL?

  • Some psychologists believe the use of persuasive design with kids is unethical.

  • The Center for Humane Technology, established by a former Google Design Ethicist named Tristan Harris, works to “realign technology with humanity’s best interests”. The Center worries that a small group of Silicon Valley designers are manipulating the behaviors, thoughts and feelings of over a billion people on the planet.

LEARN MORE:


3. NEGATIVE HEALTH AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

SCREEN TIME AFFECTS PHYSICAL HEALTH:

  • Screen time is associated with obesity

  • Screen time causes digital eye strain which may lead to issues later in life

  • Screens emit blue light which is associated with sleep disturbances. Lack of proper sleep is related to a host of physical and mental health issues.

LEarn More:

  • Cindy Eckard’s Blog on the Physical Health Impacts of Screens: Screens and Kids

SCREEN TIME AFFECTS MENTAL HEALTH:

Screen time can cause emotional dysregulation in many children- often seen as hyperarousal or changes in mood, cognition and behavior. Dr. Victoria Dunckely has prescribed “screen fasts” in her child and adolescent mental health patients for over a decade. These “fasts” have lessened or eliminated mental health symptoms in her patients- and sometimes eliminated the need for drugs. She sees a surge in (frontal lobe) executive functioning when screens are eliminated and suspects that screen use causes a stress response in a child’s nervous system, causing the dysregulation.

LEARN MORE:

SCREEN TIME AFFECTS SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL HEALTH:

  • Communication skills and Empathy levels are suffering
    Screens have fundamentally changed how kids communicate, and this affects every relationship in their lives. Kids’ focus on screen relationships may affect their ability to communicate and empathize with others even more than we think.

  • Smartphones stifle kids’ ability to recognize others’ emotions through simple facial cues. A UCLA study found that kids’ ability to read facial cues went UP after just 5 days at a device-free camp.

  • MIT Professor Sherry Turkle believes that screen time has stunted kids’ emotional development. She has written extensively about this “assault on empathy” and the far-reaching effects of less face-to-face communication in our lives. She notes a 40% decline in empathy levels in college students – which is related to the increase in mobile technologies.

LEARN MORE:

SCREEN TIME AFFECTS ATTENTION AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT:


4. WE ARE WHAT WE CONSUME

  • The adage “you are what you eat” can also apply to the steady diet of digital media our kids consume. Here’s why:

  • ACTIVITIES CHANGE BRAIN STRUCTURE by creating neural pathways in the brain. So, if a child engages in reading, sports or music over and over again, the corresponding neural pathways are strengthened. If a child engages in gaming and social media over and over again, those are the neural pathways being developed and strengthened.

  • USE IT OR LOSE IT! A child’s growth includes developmental stages of neural pruning. This means that neural pathways that are not used are pruned away. Therefore, if time spent on mindless screen use (gaming, social media, videos etc) displaces time spent on healthier activities, thosehealthy neural pathways may be pruned away for good. Neural pathways can be altered as adults, but it is much more difficult. It is important to establish healthy habits during childhood and adolescence.


LET’S CHANGE THE CULTURE!

WE CAN CHOOSE ANOTHER OPTION FOR SIMPLE COMMUNICATION

  • Lightphone and Lightphone 2

  • Dumbed-down smartphone

  • Relay

  • Gizmo and GizmoPal2

WE CAN FILL KIDS’ DAYS WITH HEALTHY BRAIN-BUILDING ACTIVITIES

  • Reading, free or creative play time, time in nature, exercise, socializing, chores, mindfulness or meditation practices, and even daydreaming all work to build a healthy brain through fostering empathy, sparking creativity, and strengthening executive functioning skills.

WE CAN DELAY SMARTPHONE USE

Join The Promise Today
Together we can create change in our community!

 

Join Concord Promise

If your children attend school in Concord and you are choosing to delay smartphone ownership until at least 8th grade, join the Concord Promise

Join or Start a Promise in Your Community

Many communities outside of Concord have launched their own Promises. You can join an existing Promise or launch one in your community.

Learn More

If you’re still looking for additional information about the movement, please check out our About page, FAQs and Resources.

 

Katie Talarico, MSEd, 2018