Impact of electronics on our children’s brains..
1. Screen-time disrupts sleep and desynchronizes the body clock. Because light from screen devices mimics daytime, it suppresses melatonin, a sleep signal released by darkness. Just minutes of screen stimulation can delay melatonin release by several hours and desynchronize the body clock. Once the body clock is disrupted, all sorts of other unhealthy reactions occur, such as hormone imbalance and brain inflammation. Plus, high arousal doesn’t permit deep sleep, and deep sleep is how we heal.
2. Screen-time desensitizes the brain’s reward system. Many children are “hooked” on electronics, and in fact gaming releases so much dopamine — the “feel-good” chemical — that on a brain scan it looks the same as cocaine use! When reward pathways are overused, they become less sensitive, and more and more stimulation is needed to experience pleasure. Meanwhile dopamine is also critical for focus andmotivation. Needless to say, even small changes in dopamine sensitivity can wreak havoc on how well a child feels and functions.
3. Screen-time produces “light-at-night.” Light-at-night from electronics has been linked to depression and even suicide risk in numerous studies. In fact, animal studies show that exposure to screen-based light before or during sleep causes depression even when the animal isn’t looking at the screen. Sometimes parents feel scared to restrict electronics use in a child’s bedroom because they worry the child will go enter a state of total despair — but in fact removing light-at-night is protective.
For more information, and the other impacts, see the full article on Psychology Today
Image from the same article, sourced by fotolia.