Doctor says Too Much Screen Time for Kids Can Have the Same Effect as Drugs

Smart screens are everywhere these days and it seems like everyone has them including young kids. The debate over ‘how much screen time is too much’ is nothing new but there’s one doctor who says the problem is so severe, he’s dubbed it “digital heroin.”

In his book Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction is Hijacking Our Kids and How to Break the Trance, author Dr. Nicholas Kardaras likens the effects of excessive screen exposure to the neurological damage caused by drug addiction.

“Obviously I’m not implying that screen addiction is as fatal as the opiate epidemic we are experiencing nationally, but it is, it is, as addictive as a lot of the other substance addiction we treat,” said Dr. Kardaras.

What about tablets at school?

Dr. Kardaras says research indicates retention rates are lower on screens than on paper, and that schools without electronics report higher test scores.

“What we do know is that educational technology, ‘Ed Tech’ is a 60-billion dollar a year global industry and I hate to say it, but there’s a financial agenda involved.”

How do parents feel?

Leci Valdes is a busy Miami mom of three daughters. A 3-year-old, and 10-month-old twins.

“A normal day in the Valdes household is pretty crazy, but I’m getting my groove,” said Valdes who explained it’s all about balance. That means limiting her daughter Mila’s screen time, specifically time spent on smart phones and tablets.

“She would lay right next to me, she would be on my phone or my iPad for 25 to 30 minutes and I would get a break,” explained Valdes. “I was noticing however with my child a pattern. And the pattern was, when I asked to have the iPad given back or the phone to be given back to me, the reaction was mind-blowing to be frank.”

She says the tantrums lasted longer than the screen time itself.

Reactions like that are part of the reason Dr. Kardaras has dubbed smart-screens “digital heroin.”

“When I call screen technology digital heroin, I really don’t make that comparison lightly,” said Dr. Kardaras.

Like Valdes, Kardaras is a parent of twins, 9-year-old boys in his case and he says he knows it’s tough to keep the screens at bay.

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SOURCE: Lauren Pastrana 
CBS Miami