Many parents think that long and frequent television or computer play is harmful to their kids. In fact, it is also the case that even the use of a smartphone affect child brain structures. The so-called neural structures change by frequent use of these devices. What are neural structures you may ask? Our brain consists of around 100,000 nerve cells, the so-called neurons. They are connected via synapses and communicate with each other. Depending on the demands of your brain daily, structures such as roads or motorways form. At the beginning, they are narrow connecting paths, which become thicker due to intensive use. The neurobiologist Gerald Hüther says: “They are designed in such a way that you cannot get down again when you get on it.” Gerald Hüther explains that those affected would only need to see one computer and they would already have the need to sit down. Sadly, every hour spent on a computer or smartphone prevents your child’s brain from developing for the challenges of the real world.
The more often a person is cycling, the bigger and wider the connection, “the road” in the brain “cycling” with all its necessary functions (steering, stepping, balance …) will develop. If your child spends a lot of time on his smartphone, the “street” called “quickly tap on the keyboard” will develop especially wide. And the more your child types, the stronger the connections in the brain becomes and the faster your child will type. The neurobiologist Gerald Hüther says: “We have known for some time that the brain becomes as it is used to do. Looking at sensomotor cortex of a 15-year-old, a region of the brain which is responsible for the regulation of the thumb movement. The region has become almost twice as large as it used to be when the child was 10-year-old. WE also see that young people these days perceive optical impressions much more quickly, that they react much faster to what is going on in pictures than recent generations.”
However, if we try to perfect only one ability, then others remain at the line. In the case of excessive smartphone use, this is often the loss of concentration and social competence.
But what is the reason for this?
Gerald Hüther describes this : “If we are exposed to a constant flood of information (such as the use of smartphones), our brain is concerned. This stimulus overload, is not good for our so-called forebrain. Directly behind the forehead lies one of the most important command centers, the Frontal cortex. There are networks with which we can feel compassion, plan actions, learn to deal with frustration and learn to control our impulses. Studies show that young people who have high media consumption, including the use of smartphones, have problems to use their frontal cortex. This explains why these kids may have difficulties with social competence, impulse control, concentration, gestures and mimicry also common among the children who spend too much time in the digital world.
Gerald Hüther says, “If I sit five hours a day in front of the computer, I cannot climb trees, for example, I cannot move my body. And that is why it is important that we simply make it clear to our children that it is great for their future to be able to use the modern media wonderfully, but it is equally important that you can solve conflicts with others that you have your own body under control, and when all these things are balanced, these modern media are a wonderful instrument. The brain is working the way you use it. We must therefore ask ourselves whether we want to leave the responsibility for the structuring of the brain of our children to the advertisers and the manufacturers of mobile phones or give them guidance to find the right balance.
Latest tests show that kids under 16-years-old must stare at media screens not more than 2 hours per day. This includes the total usage of TV, smartphones, tablets and computers. So bear this in mind when you let your kid watch TV or plays on his mobile phone.