Screen Addiction is Taking a Toll on Children

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Jane Brody of @NYTimes writes in the Well section from July 6:

“Excessive use of computer games among young people in China appears to be taking an alarming turn and may have particular relevance for American parents whose children spend many hours a day focused on electronic screens. The documentary “Web Junkie,” to be shown next Monday on PBS, highlights the tragic effects on teenagers who become hooked on video games, playing for dozens of hours at a time often without breaks to eat, sleep or even use the bathroom. Many come to view the real world as fake.”

This is a sentiment that Waldorf schools and the Rudolf Steiner School concur. Waldorf education encourages its students to be present and aware of surrounding senses; this does not happen to people who are over-consumed with technology, and play video games for a large part of the day.

“We’re throwing screens at children all day long, giving them distractions rather than teaching them how to self-soothe, to calm themselves down,” said Catherine Steiner-Adair, a Harvard-affiliated clinical psychologist and author of the best-selling book “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age.”

The Media Committee at the Rudolf Steiner School read Ms. Steiner-Adair’s book last year, and thoroughly discussed these subjects. We highly recommend her book.

“There can be physical consequences, too. Children can develop pain in their fingers and wrists, narrowed blood vessels in their eyes (the long-term consequences of which are unknown), and neck and back pain from being slumped over their phones, tablets and computers.”