Drawing Digital Boundaries or What Could Go Wrong? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Drawing Digital Boundaries or What Could Go Wrong?

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Admit it, I know it's embarrassing, but all of us have probably gone back home to get our cell phones or tablets because we forgot them. We feel lost without being connected. It seems the younger generation is often even more attached to these devices than we are. It's hard these days to find a young person who isn't glued to a smartphone or tablet. "It's becoming so pervasive even though there are good programs on there for them to do they're missing out on the spontaneous reactions from other children. They're missing out on the facial expressions from their parents. They are losing out on the ability to entertain themselves without technology. What would happen if we had no electricity or the batteries die? Do we have children who cannot perform in any way shape or form because they have turned to something that's electronic all the time?" said Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician Dr. Doris Greenberg.  

That's what William and Becky Park worry about too although they're doing a great job of monitoring their boys on their tablets. In the four short months since the boys have had them, they already appear to be consuming their sons' lives. "I'm completely against it because to me they have no creativity. You have to beat them to go outside. (laughing)  Playtime for them is when they come home from school, they want to play video games on the tablets. Outside is virtually nonexistent they don't want to do anything," said William Park.  

Park jokes about the boys, but he and his wife have figured it out and are monitoring their children's use of electronics. While parents and experts admit electronics can serve as wonderful teaching aids, it's important to use them in moderation. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns children under the age of two should avoid them altogether and those over two, including teenagers, should not be allowed to use any electronics any more than two hours each day.  Used in excess, Dr. Greenberg says children are losing out on what makes us human. " What is on the technology is very quick fast very riveting exciting. What do we do when children are exposed to things that are less exciting?How are we going to teach them empathy? If they never see the reaction to what they do because they're always texting each other and saying hurtful things to each other and not realizing that the recipient is feeling very bad, they will not learn to emphasize. We are taking away the emotional and human interactions that are so important to socializing children. " 

As a result of prolonged use of electronics, Dr. Greenberg is seeing more children who are addicted to technology and the Internet. 

"I actually had a child who broke into someone's garage so he could use their Internet during the night. Police came and thought there was a prowler in there and was about to shoot this child."

Thank goodness police didn't shoot before seeing it was just a boy. As if that isn't scary enough, experts warn that long term excessive use of technology, often exposes children to predators online who convince them to get into dangerous situations.  Many have also come in contact with crooks who have scammed them out of their money. Many others don't develop the basic social skills they need to do well in an interview to get a job or interact with people and become social misfits.  They say the bottom line - parents must take control and expose their children to other aspects of life other than technology so that their children will grow into well-rounded human beings. ​

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