My mother used to argue with me why I have decided to do away with media for my two little daughters. She tells me before that the more I deprive the children of gadgets and media exposure, the more will the children crave for it. She told me too that the children need these things because in the future, they will need technical skills for their livelihood.
I totally understand where my mother is coming from. She is reacting according to the changes that are going on with technology. All these technological advancements are being considered, but what about the human being? I am not even talking about media contents yet. I want to discuss here what media per se does to the body.
These so-called technological advancements are those that we cannot just ignore. But lest we forget, the development of these little human beings must be put at the forefront. I will cite here an example with the human eye. Our eyes develop fully at age 12. Our eyeballs have minute movements called saccadas. In waking or active state, saccadas have seven to nine rapid movements per second (7-9 movements/sec). But during media exposure, the saccadas are lessened to one movement per second (1 movement/sec). The mind in this state switches to alpha state – a state of mind when we become highly programmable. No wonder children easily get branded, and they are the most susceptible to marketing strategies so that they urge their parents to purchase.
Our cellular phones act like little cellular sites. It has very strong radiation that it can penetrate two inches inside our brain when placed underneath our pillows. So, parents with little babies, please, please, please do not place your phone near the head of your little ones. Even moreso, adults who work on the laptop or gadget unknowingly experience bloodclotting. A recent video was published by www.mercola.com following the blood flow of an individual before and during gadget use. Before use, the blood flow was seamless but during use, red blood cells started grouping together and forming little clots.
I know that a lot of us somehow know or have heard about these things but I also know that many of us turn a blind eye because to us, these media and gadget use provide conveniences. But if we really want to take care of our children, their physical health must be one of our main considerations. Especially at age 0-12, children must be kept from gadget and media exposure.
Regarding the question about technical skills that the children have to acquire because they will need this in the future, as we know, the programmers nowadays are not yet technological natives. Meaning, they were born before the boom of the media and gadgets. The programmers are highly capable now because their bodies have been equipped with the capacities while they were engaged with nature and their limbs, heart, and mind have been given adequate venue for development. I am not sure about the generation of tech natives.
I have observed the children who are highly exposed to media and gadgets vis-a-vis children who have no direct exposure. Many times, children below 10 years old cannot contain what they have acquired from the gadget exposure. They cannot stop talking, they fidget a lot, and they mimic what they have seen or heard. They also have difficulty focusing on the task at hand.
On the other hand, children who have no direct exposure to media are highly interested in their surroundings and they display greater tenacity in completing the task at hand. They are very much open to learning and they do not complain that they are bored when they have nothing to do. Instead, they look for something better to do.
To clarify, I am not against technology. I am for the right timing: the age appropriateness to media exposure. Eventually, when they reach 13 or 14 years old, the children will need to learn media competencies. This is perhaps the better time to learn because at this age, they will have started to form their judgments and the values we intended to teach them have been more or less embedded in their system.
The decision to do away is one that is taken by the whole family. This decision needs the cooperation of the whole family. When our family decided to do away with media and gadgets for the children, we had to define our own boundaries regarding gadgets as adults. We have decided to do away with TV and adults are allowed to watch movies from laptops, provided that the children are already asleep.
Over time, my mother also did further readings about the influence of media exposure to the children and now, in our family, she has become a staunch advocate in waiting for the right time for the children to have media exposure.
Joan Mae Soco-Bantayan is a teacher at Tuburan Institute, Inc. She is also a wife and a mother of two. For questions and comments, feel free to drop her an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her Facebook page, Joan Mae Soco.
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