Screen Dependency Disorder Is Real, And It Damages Your Child’s Brain

MARUTI SRIDHAR

APRIL 12, 2018

Screen Dependency Disorder Is Real, and It Damages Your Child's Brain

Screen dependency has been a ubiquitous problem of late, not only affecting the lives of developing children but the day-to-day activities of adults too. Hence, the premise of the critically acclaimed TV show Black Mirror. It exposes a dystopian world where we’re dependent on technology. Restricting time with a screen for children is essential, and some parents avoid screen time altogether. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends a maximum limit of sixty minutes screen time for 2 to 5-year-olds (1). Anyone younger than that should probably avoid use technology use altogether.

A new study shows that young children got less sleep and were less focussed if they spent an excessive time with smart devices (2). This behaviour led to an extended sleep time during the day than at night, which is not conducive towards a healthy sleep cycle. The study has shown that for every quarter of an hour the child uses a smart device, they lose an hour of sleep. Definitely, not good returns on investment.

Another study found that the more time that a child spent on a smart device, the longer its speech would be delayed (3). Dr. Catherine Birken calls for more research in her statement to CNN (4). In fact, after all this research, it was given the name Screen Dependency Disorder (5).This order is closely associated with the newly discovered Internet Addiction Disorder.

We’ve all witnessed the behaviour of children these days; they’re the first to latch on to their devices and constantly stay in touch with them. Be it manipulating apps at the dinner table or only communicating through an app-based software.

Children who suffer from this disorder, also experience a variety of other symptoms such as weight loss or gain, insomnia, headaches, poor nutrition, eyesight problems, and poor nutrition. Additionally, emotions like anxiety, loneliness, guilt, and dishonesty can manifest themselves. There has been a marked increase in the self-isolation of those who suffer from this disorder, where they also experience mood swings, and agitation.

This condition can cause withdrawal symptoms (from using their devices) too. You might notice a dependent and addictive behaviour, or hear them lie about how long they spent on their gadgets. Kids might begin to lose interest in outdoor activities, and not refrain from using these devices despite constant warnings of their adverse effects.

Most parents should find these results alarming, as any child who cannot take part in the regular family time is distressing. A comprehensive report of his behaviour should be reported to his paediatrician. Your doctor has likely encountered this phenomenon in the past, and probably has some follow-up questions to help figure out the best course of action for your toddler.

Since gadget addition affects the brain like a drug or an alcohol problem, the brain might develop some structural differences (6). Children develop a lack of impulse control, cannot organise, plan, or prioritise. The part of the brain that is responsible for empathy and compassion for others gets affected as well.

Since this is a relatively new concept, it is important to not get too ahead of ourselves. True, there are a lot of downsides to using gadgets at such a young age; but it has also been said that the literacy of this century shall be one’s ability to manipulate technology, not one’s ability to write. So, by all means, encourage a pencil more than a smartpen, time with a face instead of FaceTime; do all the organic things you would’ve done for the previous generation but do not assume that this way is bad beyond repair.

SOURCE: This is a repost from http://www.momjunction.com. April 12, 2018.  You may read the original article thru this link: http://www.momjunction.com/articles/screen-dependency-disorder-is-real-and-it-damages-your-childs-brain_00442190/

 

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15 Benefits of Wooden Educational Toys for Home Education

OLL - Benefits of Wooden Toys

Every year, companies develop new toys and games for education. Most of them feature intricately-designed plastic pieces. Some come with all the bells and whistles. Many have been designed for a few specific purposes.

While these toys may play a role in your child’s education, you can end up spending a lot of money, but not receiving a lot of educational value. Wooden toys, however, often have a lot more to offer children than the latest trendy educational toys. Here are 15 Benefits of Wooden Educational Toys for Home Education.

1. Wooden Toys are Timeless

Of course, wooden toys are trendy in their own right. In fact, they have been trendy for decades, if not centuries. Your grandparents and great-grandparents were learning with wooden toys when they were young and your grandchildren and great-grandchildren can also learn with wooden toys. While there are a lot of cool, new educational products out there, sometimes there’s value in sticking with the tried and true. Even if companies reimagine the organization, color, or design of their wooden toys, they still have the same classic feel and offer the same educational benefits that children have been reaping for generations.

2. Wooden Toys are Durable

Let’s face it – children are rough on their toys and other educational materials. You likely have missing game pieces and at least one broken toy laying around your home. Not only can wooden toys be enjoyed by generations, but the same wooden toys often last throughout generations. Since they’re made of quality wood and are solid, it’s hard for them to be damaged beyond the basic scratch or dent. If your child gets them dirty, you can easily clean them so they’re ready for the next learning activity. If you’re going to invest in learning products for your home, you want to be sure they will last a long time and that they can be used with multiple children.

3. Wooden Toys Grow with Your Child

When you invest in wooden toys for home education, you invest in something that is durable and versatile enough to grow with your child. Toddlers and preschoolers may engage in simple imaginative play and basic manipulation with wooden toys, but older children can begin to incorporate wooden toys in more complex imaginative scenarios, work them into discussions of geometry and physics, and use them to solve problems. As your child’s skills and mental abilities grow, the uses for wooden toys also grow. While many products for home education come with suggested age ranges on the front, the ways wooden toys can be used are so versatile that they can connect with a broad range of ages and ability levels.

4. Wooden Toys Encourage Imagination

Wooden toys give children the ability to take control. While some wooden toys come in the shape of vehicles, food, or common household items, they still encourage children to use their imaginations to incorporate them into learning and play. Other wooden educational toys come in basic shapes, such as sticks, blocks, arcs, triangles, and circles. These basic shapes allow children to really explore their uses and come up with creative ways to use them in different subject areas. For example, children can experiment with physics by building different structures with the wooden toys or learn about geometry by manipulating the toys to create their own geometric patterns.

While learning resources can provide you with ideas for using wooden toys to educate your child at home, they’re just a starting point, a way to pique your child’s interest before letting them come up with even more creative uses. Younger children in particular can fit virtually any object into any scenario. Since most wooden toys don’t come with a pre-conceived purpose, they encourage children to stretch their imaginations even further.

5. Wooden Toys Incorporate Real-Life Skills

As children engage in imaginative play, much of it will trend toward real-life scenarios. For example, children may have wooden toys in the shape of food and common household items to use as they play a game of house or grocery store. Even if children just have basic shapes, they may begin to use wooden toys and their imaginations to build real-life skills. For example, wooden sticks may come to represent currency as they buy and sell other wooden objects. Red circles may become strawberries and blue circles may become blueberries as they make a wooden fruit salad.

6. Wooden Toys are Less Distracting

When children play with wooden toys, they supply all the voices, alarms, and other sound effects, rather than listening to the toy. This allows children to be in control of what they do with the toys and to keep their minds clear as they think through different scenarios or solve problems. While some children really enjoy toys with all the bells and whistles, the noises and electronic features can interrupt a child’s thinking process or limit how far a child’s imagination can go by boxing them into specific ways to play with the toy.

7. Wooden Toys Encourage Interaction

When children use their imaginations and practice real-life scenarios, they often like to bring others in on their play. Toys that have voices or other sound effects often encourage solo play since children get the interaction and responses they crave from the toy itself.

Since wooden toys don’t come with sounds, lights, or other interactive features, children must find others to interact with them. If you have multiple children at home, wooden toys become something more than one child can play with at once. If you only have one child or prefer to focus on education in a one-on-one setting, your can provide that interaction with your child. By interacting with your child as they play with wooden toys you can help build their understanding and provide positive reinforcement as they make decisions.

8. Wooden Toys Develop Reasoning Skills

Since wooden toys don’t have voices or electronic parts to tell them what piece to pick up or what step to take next and they aren’t designed to fit a specific activity, children develop their reasoning skills as they learn with wooden toys. For example, children may want to make a model to help answer a science question or figure out how to make a shape using tangram-style wooden shapes. As children manipulate the different shapes and sizes of wooden toys, they’re building their reasoning skills. They also build reasoning skills as they organize their wooden toys into different categories. For example, they may opt to organize them by size, by shape, or even by color.

9. Wooden Toys Support Problem-Solving

Wooden toys also have the ability to support problem-solving. On a more basic level, children can use wooden toys to help provide visual representations of addition and subtraction problems. They can also be used to create logic puzzles for children to solve, to build towers that will withstand different forces acting upon them, or to create models to help represent different advanced math and science problems. Because wooden toys come in more general shapes and sizes, children will have to problem-solve to figure out how to make them fit certain scenarios rather than having the pre-made pieces that often come with other educational sets.

10. Wooden Toys Improve Hand-Eye Coordination

Because of their more basic shapes, wooden toys also help children build hand-eye coordination. Activities such as building towers out of wooden blocks, carefully placing the pieces so the towers don’t topple over, or threading a string through a series of wooden beads, require children to pay attention to distance and placement. Children can also use wooden toys to begin to represent concepts such as over, under, beside, up, and down. When they solve puzzles or create patterns using wooden toys they also begin to visually see how items fit together, which also improves their hand-eye coordination.

11. Wooden Toys Build Fine Motor Skills

As children manipulate wooden toys, they also build their fine motor skills. Wooden toys come in different shapes and sizes. Rather than being molded to fit a small child’s hand, they can sometimes be a bit clunky and awkward for children to handle. While clunky and awkward may not seem like an ideal trait in a toy, the design of wooden toys requires children to work on different ways of grasping and manipulating the toys to get them to do what they need them to do. Babies and toddlers can work on basic grasping skills with larger wooden blocks and toys, while preschoolers and older kids can use wooden shapes, beads, and sticks to focus on a finer grasp, twisting the wrist, and other key motor skills.

12. Wooden Toys are Tactile

Unlike toys made of lightweight plastic, many wooden toys have a bit of weight to them, so when children interact with the toys they are more aware of what they are doing. This weight can be particularly beneficial for children with delays in the development of their fine motor skills or those with sensory disorders because heavier toys will help them feel their movements as they work to develop their skills. The tactile element of wooden toys also mean children have to think more and exert more energy as they play and learn. For example, the wheels on a wooden toy car may not move as smoothly as on a plastic or metal car, requiring children to apply more force to make it move.

13. Wooden Toys are Safe

As children manipulate the wooden toys, you don’t have to worry much about their safety because wooden toys are designed to be safe. Most wooden toys won’t break easily, which means children won’t be exposed to sharp edges or small pieces that have broken off of the toy. They’re also generally non-toxic and made from natural materials, which means children can manipulate them by chewing on them or sucking on them. You don’t have to worry about polluting your home with unknown chemicals or worry about what your child could possibly be eating.

14. Wooden Toys are Quiet

Not only will wooden toys not pollute your home with chemicals, they won’t pollute your home with a lot of noise. While this lack of noise keeps kids from being distracted, it also provides parents with the quiet they so often need during the day. Children cannot accidentally leave a wooden toy running or have to listen to incessant beeps and boops as they play. Instead, you can focus on the sound of your children’s voices and laughter as they learn and interact with their wooden toys. When your children go to sleep, the toys are asleep and quiet too.

15. Wooden Toys are Beautiful

Whether you have a dedicated space for education at home or you simply include educational toys with your child’s other toys, you want the area to look nice. Wooden toys come with their own aesthetic appeal. Those with bright colors can add a bit of positive energy to the learning process, even if they’re just sitting on a shelf. Those in a plain wood color can help make the room look nice without distracting children from whatever they are working on. If the toys are just sitting out in your general living space, they have the ability to blend in with your regular décor. This allows you to leave them out and let children interact with them whenever the urge strikes, rather than hiding them away when guests visit.

Wooden toys may cost more than a lot of the latest educational toys, but they come with an incredible value. Rather than coming with a set purpose and a limited use, wooden toys have the potential to last for years. As children grow, they will find different ways to use wooden toys to help build their imaginations, solve problems, and develop fine motor and reasoning skills. While they may not be the toys children see on television or at their friends’ homes, wooden toys are the timeless toys that allow children to learn and grow every time they pull them out to play and their beauty and safety means that they can be left out for children to interact with, rather than keeping them stored away.

 

SOURCE: This is a repost from Spielgaben.com, January 27, 2015.  You may read the original article thru this link: https://spielgaben.com/15-benefits-of-wooden-educational-toys-for-home-education/

 

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Research shows the importance of parents reading with children – even after children can read

Research has typically found that shared reading experiences are highly beneficial for young people. Shutterstock/Alfira

Many of us will be able to recall the enjoyment of shared reading: being read to and sharing reading with our parents. However, my research has found that of the 997 Year 4 and Year 6 respondents at 24 schools who took part in the 2016 Western Australian Study in Children’s Book Reading, nearly three-fifths reported that they were not being read to at home.

A sample of these children also participated in interviews, where I asked them how they felt about shared reading. While a few children did not mind no longer being read to, others were disappointed when it stopped. For example, when I asked Jason about his experience of being read to by his parents, he explained:

… they kind of stopped when I knew how to read. I knew how to read, but I just still liked my mum reading it to me.

His experience is common, with other recent research suggesting that more than one-third of Australian respondents aged six to 11 whose parents had stopped reading to them wanted it to continue.

But why is it so important for us to keep reading with our children for as long as possible?

Research has typically found that shared reading experiences are highly beneficial for young people. Benefits of shared reading include facilitating enriched language exposure, fostering the development of listening skillsspellingreading comprehension and vocabulary, and establishing essential foundational literacy skills. They are also valued as a shared social opportunity between parents and their children to foster positive attitudes toward reading.

When we read aloud to children it is also beneficial for their cognitive development, with parent-child reading activating brain areas related to narrative comprehension and mental imagery. While most of the research in this area focuses on young children, this does not mean that these benefits somehow disappear as children age.

As young people’s attitudes towards reading reflect their experiences of reading at home and at school in childhood and beyond, providing an enjoyable shared reading experience at home can help to turn our children into life-long readers.

However, not all shared reading experiences are enjoyable. Some children described having poor quality experiences of being read to, and children did not typically enjoy reading to distracted or overly critical parents. In some cases, parents attempted to outsource this responsibility to older siblings, with mixed results.

While many children really enjoyed the social aspects of reading and being read to as valuable time with their parents, they also felt that they learned from these experiences. For example, listening was felt to provide an opportunity to extend vocabulary, and improve pronunciation. Gina recalled the advantage she lost when her parents stopped reading to her, as:

… when they did read to me when I was younger, I learnt the words; I would like to learn more words in the bigger books and know what they are so I could talk more about them.

Similarly, Craig explained how being read to enabled his academic advantage in literacy, as “they were teaching me how to say more words”, and “that’s why I’m ahead of everyone in spelling and reading and English”. When this stopped “just because my mum thought I was smart enough to read on my own and started to read chapter books”, Craig was disappointed.

In addition, children were sometimes terrified of reading aloud in the classroom, and this fear could potentially be alleviated through greater opportunities to practice at home.

Hayden’s anxiety around reading aloud at school related to his lack of confidence, and his tendency to compare his skills with those of his peers. He described himself as “always standing up there shivering, my hands are shivering, I just don’t want to read, so I just start reading. And I sound pretty weird”. No-one read with him at home, so he had limited opportunity to build his confidence and skills.

This research suggests that we should not stop reading with our children just because they have learned to read independently.

We should continue reading with our children until they no longer wish to share reading with us, ensuring that these experiences are enjoyable, as they can influence children’s future attitudes toward reading, as well as building their confidence and competence as readers. It is worth the effort to find time to share this experience with our children in the early years and beyond.

 

SOURCE: This is a repost from theconversation.com.  To read the original article, click here: https://theconversation.com/research-shows-the-importance-of-parents-reading-with-children-even-after-children-can-read-82756

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Starting off as a perpetual learner, I have evolved into a knowledge worker, who integrates complex technology for practical use. I lead implementation of high-technology projects. I also teach part-time for a graduate program in the country’s best university, because I like participating on activities that up-skill mass knowledge in my fields of interest. I seek for opportunities to increase the carrying capacity of the world, but, I have always lived for my family.

In April 2015, I got news that changed my life for good. God surprised us less than a year into the marriage, and for the first time in my life, I was expected to deliver a project that I had zero knowledge of. Everything I knew about pregnancy or parenting (mostly from Biology and Home Economics) were somewhere around incomplete, irrelevant, or totally non-existent. I developed some level of dependency on research and books related to these fields and found some level of comfort even in blogs and other types of online articles that deal with these topics. Suddenly, all sorts of information and opinion from hard and soft sciences became very valuable to me.

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