CORRELATIONS BETWEEN DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS AND THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY
As anticipated by the title of the article, I will try to offer some food for thought between the correlations of the use of technological tools and the numerous problems of children in their developmental years.
I would like to point out that I am not against the progress made in this area and that I myself make use, in support of traditional rehabilitation, of some training on PC or tablet during my work where I mainly intervene in adulthood to strengthen cognitive areas such as language, attention, memory and executive functions impaired by neurological damage.
What you are about to read focuses more on the role that these tools are playing, more and more, in the lives of children from birth or almost. An article in the “CORRIERE DELLA SERA – Health Section” (https://www.corriere.it/salute/23_agosto_23/bambini-schemo-ritardi-9bef0ca6-40f0-11ee-9770-ee723dce5687.shtml) tells how a recently published study in The Journal of the Medical Association Pediatrics is able to demonstrate that exposure to a screen (mobile phone, tablet, PC or TV) for prolonged periods can be associated with delayed child development.
I find it interesting how this study also highlights the fact that spending a lot of time looking at a screen reduces interaction with human beings, who, unlike a technological tool, can offer an emotional relationship made up of mutual interest, exchange and emotions.
I immediately think of all those children who, in the absence of detectable neurological damage or suffering from specific pathologies, are diagnosed as DSA, ADHD, Language Disorders or Delays, or dipraxics.
I wonder: how can a child with poor social interactions that concern listening to someone speaking to him, the outside world, sensory experience, the attention to be given and received towards others, not have a high probability that he will not develop language as we expect, that he will not be able to develop fine motor skills that will allow him to hold a pencil correctly or tie his shoes, that he will not be able to concentrate and pay attention because his brain is used to receiving stimuli too quickly from a monitor?
Perhaps it is also in this that we must look for many of the answers necessary to justify this massive increase in diagnoses of behavioral and learning disorders and much more in childhood and adolescence?
An interesting documentary (https://youtu.be/0j8l9qdT01s) highlights (based on scientific research still being processed and developed today) the effect that digital technology can have on the health of those who are overexposed to it, especially if we are talking about children and adolescents.
I also read an interesting interview with Prof. Giuseppe Riva (https://www.auxologico.it/sovraposizione-bambini-schermi-tablet-smartphone) where an example is reported that all of us have certainly witnessed in everyone’s lives every day, even very young children completely engrossed and hypnotized in front of mum and dad’s electronic devices, perhaps overwhelmed by absurd rhythms and little time available for leisure and relaxation: have you ever noticed the reactions of these children when this instrument is taken away from them? If they had dropped the ice cream or anything else maybe they would have gotten over it quicker!
It often seems that nothing around us is designed for children, already small consumers overwhelmed in the frantic wait to become producers themselves.
Of particular importance, in my opinion, is also the immoderate and uncontrolled use of these means in adolescence where we should pay attention and notice if social media and video games do not become a place to retreat to escape from real relationships made of comparison and growth .
Nothing can replace the relationship that human beings are capable of creating and however difficult, tiring, sometimes exhausting it may be, we should dedicate the right time and attention to it. From birth the child must have the certainty that what he will find when relating to the world outside him will be presence, love, affection, experience, sharing.
In conclusion we can state that reducing children’s exposure (if not avoiding it at an early age) can avoid functional damage to vision, manual dexterity, language, attention and physical abilities in general (even a sedentary lifestyle causes serious damage). and surely instead facilitate the child’s interaction with others (adults of reference and peers) with the consequent adequate cognitive and emotional development?
Obviously what has been said up to now has nothing to do with the importance of the progress made to date in the technological field. The hope is to understand how to use some means, which allow us to talk and see people even on the other side of the world, do quick searches on the internet or even structured games without all this replacing human contact and the irreplaceable unique emotional relationship of our species.
I hope, as always, to stimulate reflections. There is no judgement. Just a little desire to change things, because I really think it’s never too late to do it. From parents, health professionals, teachers, uncles, grandparents, etc…