America’s Real Digital Divide
The biggest question being asked: How bad are electronics for children? The answer: bad. The problem is people are not aware of the consequences screen time can have on their children.
One of the problems is that people believe that middle-class children are being harmed by too much screen time. However, minority and disadvantaged kids spend much more time in front of screens."According to a 2011 study by researchers at Northwestern University, minority children watch 50 percent more TV than their white peers, and they use computers for up to one and a half hours longer each day. White children spend eight hours and 36 minutes looking at a screen every day, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, while black and Hispanic children spend 13 hours." This large amount of time spent staring at a screen has a negative effect on children’s ability to understand nonverbal emotional cues, and is linked to higher rates of mental illness, including depression.
Unfortunately, low-income and less-educated parents receive the message that screen time is going to help their children. Parents are being told be teachers and other staff, that a faster computer can help raise their child's grades. However, in states, such as Maine, that supply tablets for each student, there has been no noticeable improvement on standardized testing
No one is telling poorer parents about the dangers of screen time. This is the factor that is stopping these parents from limiting their child's screen time. The real digital divide is not between children who have access to internet or don't, it's about the parents who have been brain washed into thinking more screen time is good because they don't know any better. It's time to make a difference in the lives of all children.
If you have questions about the effects of too much screen time and how it is linked to a higher rate of mental illness or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us. For more information on therapy, visit FAQ at Hilber Psychological Services.
~Written by Allison Parker and Tanya L. Hilber, PsyD
Reference: Schaefer Riley, Naomi. “America’s Real Digital Divide.” The New York Times , The New York Times, 11 Feb. 2018.