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Jack Kinnison
English 1001
Eveland
12, October 2017
The Mental, Physical, and Influential Dangers

to our Youth from Screens

In our society technology, is the biggest threat to our children. We dont realize the

amount of harm a screen or smart device can do to children, even if the amount of use and

content is being well regulated. More and more children ages 12 and under own some sort of

screen or smart device, whether that be a tablet, phone, laptop, or an entertainment center such as

an Xbox or PlayStation. The possession of these devices causes problems with sleep and

physical health, the mental stability of children, and can influence their lifestyle. In the end, these

devices are creating long term problems that dont necessarily appear until the later stages of life.

Smart devices or screens are harmful to an individual's natural sleep pattern while being

used before falling asleep. Sleep requires two things; the signal in our brain that produces the

sleep hormone, and a brain that isnt constantly receiving stimuli. An article posted by the

Sleepfoundation.org stated that the use of electronic devices in the bedroom further disrupts the

natural pattern of the sleep-wake cycle. This is caused by the blue light emitted by the screens

society looks at. Our eyes are interesting in the sense that they have photoreceptors that interpret

the type and amount of light passing through them. Blue light, for example, passes through these

receptors and is interpreted as daylight. Because our eyes tell our brain that its daytime our brain

suppresses the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Sleep.org mentions that screens or

other devices keeps your mind engaged. It may be relaxing to watch their favorite movie, but
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keeping their brain is engaged by the screen and convinces itself to stay awake. With the

suppressed production of melatonin and a brain engaged by a screen it becomes much harder to

sleep. The impact on our children is that they fall asleep later and this causes them to be more

tired during the day. Since the kids are tired during the day they will be less creative, more

irritable, and learn less. Sleep is important for the youth to grow, learn, and be creative; without

the necessary amount of sleep they will underperform in many ways.

Each of the different types of screens has their own impact on the mental health of

children, whether that screen be a TV or a smart phone. The claim that all screens do the same

thing is not entirely true. The U.S National Library of Medicine, U.S.N.L.M, released an article

that describes the type of screen and the effect it has on children. First off, the article proves that

increased television exposure in childhood leads to increased attention problems in the teenage

years. ADHD and ADD, which used to be considered rare, seem to be a common occurrence or

pattern. More TVs are being purchased per household that no matter what room someone is in

theres bound to be a TV within eyeshot. Kids have more access to TV and thats causing them

to develop attention disorders. Second, the U.S.N.L.M states that entertainment centers for

heavy video game usage, regardless of the content, predicted depression among adolescents and

young adults. So that 30-year-old who plays video games in his parents basement really is

depressed. It just starts at a much younger age and then begins to take effect later in life. Finally,

statistics have proven that phones, tablets, and laptops; as great as these are to stay connected,

excessive use of them leads to increased feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and aggressiveness

(study conducted by the U.S National Library of Medicine). When someone leaves home without

their phone they get anxious. That feeling of suddenly losing this object that keeps them

informed is hard, like something is ripped from them. Imagine from the age of 6 someones life
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revolved around texting and tweeting, then suddenly they cant do those things anymore. These

kids are crying out for help. Theyve read all the lies out on the internet about how many friends

everyone else has or how this lady knows 1 weird trick thatll they dont know any better

than that. They read these expectations and convince themselves that if they arent exactly like

this then no one will like them.

The overall result of these physical and mental threats is when they are combined,

together they are the harbinger of an unhealthy lifestyle. Screens do not seem like they can

influence a lifestyle, no one thinks of it that way. The use of screens by children keeps them from

being active. Since theyre not active they never burn off the calories they consume. Electronic

coupons or promo codes make them inclined to eat unhealthy food because they get a discount.

U.S National Library of Medicine presented us with startling statistics from a study of 4- to 11-

year-old American children found that while 37% had low levels of active play and 65% had

high levels of screen time, 26% had a combination of both and that fewer than four in 10

children met both physical activity and screen time guidelines. The result of these statistics is a

population of young adults that are Obese or Overweight. Another harmful part of the lifestyle

these screens bring to our youth is reliance. They all rely on the screens to do even simple tasks.

A study, featured by NPR was, conducted by researchers from the University of California, Los

Angeles. They had 2 groups of 6th graders, one had no access to screens while the other had

normal access, at the end of the five-day study period, both groups of kids were shown images

of nearly 50 faces and asked to identify the feelings being modeled. the 6th graders with no

screens scored significantly higher when it came to reading facial emotions or other nonverbal

cues than the students who continued to have access to their media devices this study shows that

kids often times dont develop the social skills necessary to pick up on the most basic of social
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cues. The majority of the communication between 2 people is through body language, and the

ability to read body language is vital to the success of an individual. Excessive use of these

media devices is proof that it restricts the amount of time adolescents spend learning to recognize

what another persons body language is telling them because they have their nose buried in a

smart phone. These devices cant help social skills, they stall the development of these skills and

in the long run theyre setting our youth up for failure.

Adults validate giving their child a screen one of two ways. First reason is that it will help

the child learn about the world through experience. Well, that point of view isnt entirely correct.

Yes, it can show them whats out there but they are just seeing. Theres a huge difference

between learning and observing. These kids are also only seeing what cameras can capture, not

the beauty of a whole other culture with different standards and customs than the one theyve

grown up in. The second reason is that it gives the kid a means of communication with the

parent. In reality it gives that child a means of communicating with everything. As the child

becomes a teenager they will be plugged into every kind of social media and using their phone to

gossip about whoever they want. Adults use their smart devices to stay organized; they make a

schedule, sort out problems, they can do work, and they keep track of steps, adults use devices

for basic things in a busy world to avoid catastrophe in their lives. Teenagers do not need devices

for the same reasons, to them it becomes a distraction. Limiting the time spent on these devices

or just limiting what they can do on these devices will prevent them from becoming distracted by

the phone that buzzes because twitter has a poll you should participate in.

The time that children under the age of 12 spend on a screen is alarming. Its too easy for

them to get to a screen and it goes unmonitored when they have one. No one stops to think about

how this is going to change the future of this child when we hand them a brand-new phone. This
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is an issue that has become more prevalent in todays society due to the unlimited access that

young children have to these devices. The facts are that devices hurt children and their lifestyle,

mental, and physical health which leads to a growing concern for the future. In order to ensure

that our youth will be successful the amount of time they have on these screens should be

limited. In limiting the amount of time they spend, societies all-digital, all the time trend can be

reversed and there will be more of a balance between digital and real world interactions.
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Annotated bibliography

"Electronics in the Bedroom: Why it's Necessary to Turn off Before You Tuck in." National Sleep
Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2017.

This article is all about how the light our phone screens emit impact our sleep. It
specifically states that our phones emit something called blue light, which convinces our
brain that it's time to be awake. Since our culture is reliant on these phones we use
them late at night before we go to bed and that causes us to stay up later. Helene
Emsellen, MD and Taylor Boss, BA, are quoted for their statement of how the use of
electronic devices in the bedroom is able to disrupt our natural sleep cycle.
The Sleepfoundation is an organization whose goal is to provide useful
information on sleep. This foundation has thoroughly researched the effect of electronic
devices, or smart devices, on sleep. I chose to use this because it's relevant to my
section on the impact of electronic devices on children's health.

"How Technology Impacts Sleep Quality." Sleep.Org. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2017.

This article was more about how the usage of screens affects the brain. It
continued to explain how dangerous the little screen is even on the lowest brightness. It
states that the blue light emitted from any phone, tablet, tv, or laptop suppresses the
production of melatonin. Melatonin is the sleep hormone, and the use of these devices
decreases that production. It says that the blue light suppresses this because it keeps
your brain alert. The use of devices before bed makes it harder to sleep no matter what
you do because an alert brain doesn't produce melatonin because it's thrown off your
sleep cycle or circadian rhythm.
Sleep.org is an organization based off the concern of people not receiving quality
sleep. I chose this because it gives more detailed information about how screens affect
sleep and the science behind it.

"Kids And Screen Time: What Does The Research Say?" NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 10 Jan. 2017.

This article discussed the results of a study done by UCLA. The study was of 2
groups of 6th graders. One group was sent to an education camp where they had no
access to electronics, while the other group went on as they normally do. When the
study started the kids in both groups were asked to identify the feelings of people based
only on their facial expression. At the end they were shown the faces again and the
group that didn't have access to electronic devices were able to more accurately identify
what each person was feeling. This study was over 5 days and Patricia Greenfield was
pleased to get an effect in that short of a time period.
NPR or National Public Radio is a very credible source. This was useful because it
gave a comparison between kids who use electronics and those that don't. Also it
proves that children are very impactful and more screen time does impact them.
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Publications, Inc. Ogden. "Kids and Gadgets: The Effects of Electronic Media on Developing
Brains - Smart Parenting." Mother Earth Living. N.p., 16 Feb. 2015. Web. 09 Jan. 2017.

This article gives many reasons why exposure to screens is concerning in our
youth. First it states that far too many children across the country use electronics too
much. Second it provides information on the effect of electronics on a child's
development and how it can hurt the brain. More specifically it addresses the reduced
amount of active play or spending time outside and how bad it is for development.
Other impacts this article discusses include delay of language skills, increased
aggression, and how it can cause more tantrums.
This source is reliable because it pulls research from well known foundations and
experts. This is useful because it provides a general synopsis of all the ways electronics
can affect children without going too in depth to a single one.

Rosen, L.D., A.F. Lim, J. Felt, L.M. Carrier, N.A. Cheever, J.M. Lara-Ruiz, J.S. Mendoza, and J.
Rokkum. "Media and technology use predicts ill-being among children, preteens and teenagers
independent of the negative health impacts of exercise and eating habits." Computers in
human behavior. U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2014. Web. 13 Jan. 2017.

This article discusses the effect of different formats or screens on children's


health. It discusses how television can lead to attention issues in teenage years. Also it
states that heavy usage of video games can lead to depression and loneliness later in
life. How social media affects eating habits and can lead to obesity. Finally it discusses
the overall effect of screens on health and how it can lead to problems later in life.
This was very informative and I noticed many credible sources cited throughout. It's
useful because it narrows down what each type of electronic does to children and why
this is seen as a large pattern across the nation.
This article comes from a database that is backed by the u.s government. I
decided to use this because it provided useful information on other types of screens
other than phones, and how each one affects the human body.

Arora, T., et al. "The Complexity of Obesity in UK Adolescents: Relationships with Quantity and
Type of Technology, Sleep Duration and Quality, Academic Performance and Aspiration."
Pediatric Obesity, vol. 8, no. 5, Oct. 2013, pp. 358-366.

This article is about a study conducted in the UK on adolescents and how the
usage of these devices impacts them on a very broad spectrum. It really gives detail into
the effect of the duration and the types of usage. It also discusses how the findings here
can be applied on a larger scale.
I found this article on the UC search tool. The study itself was conducted by the
University of Birmingham. I plan on using this source because it gives more info on
adolescents and how they are affected.
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