Dr. Nick Kardaras is all over the place lately.
After penning a book on the dangers of children and technology, Kardaras has been featured in newspaper articles, TV talk shows and in an opinion piece he wrote for The New York Post.
Kardaras is the author of the new book “Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction is Hijacking Our Kids—and How to Break the Trance.”
So, yes, some of the things he says has to be taken with a grain of salt because he is trying to sell his product. However, he does say things that make good common sense, and he names several university studies that back up his opinion.
And what is that opinion?
That introducing technology to young kids is dangerous for their young, developing minds — even if the reason is for educational purposes.
Every generation seems to think that the new way is better than the old way, and if you disagree, then you must be too old-fashioned and out of touch to be relevant.
Somehow millennia of great thinkers received an education from reading books and listening to lectures from teachers — without a single Chromebook or iPad to help Plato or Michelangelo or Einstein. How did they ever learn without digital gadgets?
For a few years now, there has been a push to get more and more technology into classrooms, even though we don’t truly know if these expensive items have a benefit or not. We assume that a smart board is far better than a simple chalk-covered blackboard, but could kids learn just as much from the old ways?
Quoting an article on Businesswire.com, Kardaras told Time magazine, “Education technology is estimated to become a $60 billion industry by 2018.” For all that public tax money, however, he said that there are university studies that show no measurable gain from this excessive spending.
“In the end, technology can amplify great teaching, but great technology cannot replace poor teaching,” the shrink said.
Making matters worse is some worrisome data that suggests that being glued to a screen harms development of young minds, including the frontal cortex.
Kardaras wrote to The Post:
“There’s a reason that the most tech-cautious parents are tech designers and engineers. Steve Jobs was a notoriously low-tech parent. Silicon Valley tech executives and engineers enroll their kids in no-tech Waldorf Schools.
I have said for years that TV shows are becoming too hard on the mind. It isn’t enough to have a program running. The top edge, bottom edge and sides could be loaded down with additional information that is nearly impossible to digest.
New data shows that the number of ADHD cases diagnosed is on the rise. Sure, a little of that could be because we have a greater understanding and awareness of the illness. However, the sharp increase must assuredly be caused by overtaxing young minds.
Making it worse is that kids get in such a habit of using technology that they fit the basic definition of a drug addict. They stop doing other activities and alienate friends. They get irrationally angry when their devices are taken away. They become bored and without sympathy for others.
The doctor wrote to The Post:
“In my clinical work with over 1,000 teens over the past 15 years, I have found the old axiom of ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ to be especially true when it comes to tech addiction. Once a kid has crossed the line into true tech addiction, treatment can be very difficult. Indeed, I have found it easier to treat heroin and crystal meth addicts than lost-in-the-matrix video gamers or Facebook-dependent social media addicts.”
When a person becomes an addict or an alcoholic, the first step is getting clean. Then one of the biggest steps to staying clean is to avoid temptation.
With digital technology, there is no way to avoid temptation. It’s everywhere.
So we owe it to our children to try to reduce the exposure, especially at the younger grades.
Now I’m not saying all technology is bad. I think Surry County Schools’ Virtual Academy is a great thing for this area.
However, I think it’s time we took a stand against tech devices in our elementary schools.
Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.