Is Technology Scrambling My Baby's Brain?

Ben Popper, writing for The Verge

I viewed my mother’s suspicion of screens as just another form of the knee-jerk nostalgia that makes people believe new gadgets are addictive, dangerous, and capable of affecting not just how we think, but the way our bodies work. A few days after the iPhone incident, however, I got an email from my mother with links to a half-dozen scientific studies about the effect television, computers, and video games can have on young children’s developing brains. Too much screen time can, according to the various studies, lead to a delay in verbal skills, poor concentration, emotional instability, and a greater risk of developing attention deficit disorder. In 2011, the venerable American Academy of Pediatrics officially decreed that exposure to screens is detrimental to children under the age of two. Some of the most damning data my mother passed along came from the Millennium Cohort Study, which tracked the long-term health and development of children in the UK born between 2000 and 2002. It found that by the age of five, children who spent more than three hours a day in front of a screen were more likely to engage in antisocial behaviors such as fighting and stealing than their peers. I wasn't just stunting my son’s intellectual potential, it seemed. I was turning him into a dangerous hooligan.

I had no idea about the No Screens Under Two decree. Considering that I've publicly displayed how cute (and hilarious!) it was that I "watched" The Godfather (I and II) with my daughter, and got her hooked on the Despicable Me 2 trailer, I guess that much is obvious.

And while moving forward, my wife and I have definitely been keeping Luna "away" from screens (within reason), I've still got my doubts. As Popper points out, there is nothing more irrationally responded to than new technology (and really, new forms of popular culture).  And considering that the same researchers would probably agree that there are a whole host of factors that decide the developmental speed of a child, I think the damage I've done is minimal.