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Hi guys,

Just another mention about the purpose of my new podcast, namely Kids on a Journey, which is to discuss matters appertaining to children that may be as diverse as temper tantrums in pre-school children, to eating disorders and self-harm in young adults.

The podcast was launched recently with an introductory chat, followed with discussion about some of my own writing and what I hope to achieve as a writer.
In particular several short stories will be analysed by both adults and young people, to discern the underlying message and of course entertainment content.
A few young people have already been interviewed though I use that word loosely and prefer to say, ‘we have had a chat.’
Their thoughts and comments are wonderful, bearing in mind my first batch of children were all six years old. I am now greatly encouraged to keep going.

It is my intention that all podcasts follow an informal relaxed discussion as opposed to interview.
Whether it be, over coffee, afternoon tea or even a gin and tonic – My favourite drink – I hope that it will be fun, whilst being informative and educational. The intention to include the thoughts and feelings of children should add flavour. Though no G and T for them!

If you have been asked to take part in any of the podcast chats and agreed, then a huge thank you.
Let’s see if we can, ‘make a difference in the life of a child.’
The intention to Inspire Challenge Support and Achieve.

A topic on my heart to discuss in the near future is;

The use of mobile phones, tablets and how excessive use effects our children.

Areas to be discussed will be;-

  1. Are tablets, mobile phones becoming addictive? I don’t think there’s any doubt of that one!
  2. Who is at fault here? The child or the Adult?
  3. What types of negative influences can over usage of these devices have? Optical, cognitive, muscular, general well-being and health?
  4. How are people skills, communication and social skills being affected?
  5. What is a reasonable time scale for daily usage without causing health issues?
  6. What Scientific research is being conducted today.
  7. What does the small print say on the usage of these devices when purchased? Are we actually, ignoring the manufacturers recommendations?

What I have learnt, to date regarding my own research.

Mobile phone excessive usage, effects on the eyesight.

A high percentage of adults allow their young children to use technology, smartphones and tablets for long periods of time.
Without any limits, I suspect excessive screen time can have serious consequences on a child’s physical and mental health.

Some opticians say people are so addicted to smartphones they may be increasing their risk of eye damage. They are warning overuse from phones and other devices such as computers, tablets, and flat screen TVs can lead to long-term damage.
The blue light appears to damage retinal cells. It is still unclear how much blue light and for how long, but it is proven that damage is irreversible. Blue light exposure indeed may increase the risk of macular degeneration. The fact that blue light penetrates all the way to the retina (the inner lining of the back of the eye) is important, because laboratory studies have shown that too much exposure to blue is very harmful.

Are there any screen time guidelines for kids? For example…

  1. Moderating near work, e.g. playtime on mobile devices, to about 30 minutes per session
  2. Ensuring that your child takes frequent periods of eye rest when using such device
  3. Ensuring that near vision activities are performed at a sufficient distance (device held at least 30 cm away
  4. Encouraging your child to also engage in outdoor activities

Mobile phone excessive usage, effects on the Brain

What are the effects of smartphones on the brain? Given the prevalence of smartphones today, is it a question of interest for healthcare practitioners, mental health professionals, educators, parents, and anyone who happens to use a smartphone on a regular basis.

My own research when interviewing a group of young people (aged 14 years) when asked the question, ‘if you were asked to go a day without your smartphone, do you think you could do it easily?’
They all looked horrified!

Basically, breaking the technology habit, even for a relatively short interval, can be exceedingly difficult. But does this reliance on smartphones have any impact on our brains?
Surely the answer is YES.

Some research suggests that smartphone usage does indeed have an effect on the brain, although the long-term effects remain to be seen. In one study presented to the Radiological Society of North America, researchers found that young people with a so-called internet and smartphone addiction actually demonstrated imbalances in brain chemistry compared to a control group. Another studying appearing in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research found that cognitive capacity was significantly reduced whenever a smartphone is within reach, even when the phone is off.

Mobile phone excessive usage, effects on Social and emotional skills.

In my opinion all of this phone usage will have an impact on children’s social and emotional development, that it can impair our sleep patterns, and that it might even turn some people into lazy thinkers.

Using such devices to entertain or pacify children, I suggest they might have a detrimental effect on their social and emotional development.
If these devices become the predominant method to calm and distract young children, will they be able to develop their own internal coping mechanisms?

Will the use of mobile devices become problematic when such devices replace hands-on activities in replacement of visual-motor and sensory skills?
Will devices interfere with the development of social and problem-solving skills, better acquired during free play and interaction with peers?

Mobile phone excessive usage, effects on sleep patterns

Using your smartphone or tablet at bedtime might be interfering with sleep patterns. Instead, some sleep experts warn, it is the type of light emitted from the mobile device’s screen that might just be messing up the sleep cycle, even after the device is turned off.

If we use an iPad immediately before bedtime is there a reduction in levels of melatonin, (the hormone that increases throughout the evening and induces sleepiness.)

Again, is the culprit the blue light emitted by most mobile devices. The cells at the back of the eyes contain a light-sensitive protein that picks up certain wavelengths of light. These light-sensitive cells then send signals to the brain’s “clock” that regulates the body’s rhythms. Normally, blue light peaks in the morning, signalling your body to wake up for the day. Red light increases in the evening, signalling that it is time to wind down and go to bed. By interrupting this natural cycle with the blue light emitted by mobile devices, surely the normal sleep cycle is disrupted.

Does mobile phone excessive usage make the brain lazy?

We no longer have to memorize phone numbers or keep a contact list.
Instead of trying to remember important appointments, we simply rely on an iPhone app to remind us. Will over-reliance on a mobile device ultimately lead to mental laziness?
Also, the problem with relying on the Internet for information implies we do not have to exercise our brain to memorize things.

Mobile phone excessive usage, effects on the physical body

It has been said that excessive use of the mobile phone can literally become, a pain in the neck.

Will constant texting, bending over have long term effects on the spine?
What does the term texting neck imply?

Is the next generation likely to have arthritis and joint pain as the result of lack of physical exercise and over usage of specific joints associated with mobile phone usage?

Explain the theory of the average weight of the human head and how the angle of the head can alter the amount of pressure on the spine. If sustained for long periods of time what is the possible effect.

How can parents minimise any negative physical effects on a child’s growing and developing body?

These are all things I will be discussing – and more – please lookout for my podcast on this very interesting topic. Coming soon.