- But I think we can look at this in the same way, we look at withdrawal from anything that gives people that instant satisfaction.
- It's like mama ordering jumpsuits online.
- Kind of.
And then dad comes and takes my screen away and I'm like... Jumpsuit!
(lighthearted music) One thing I noticed is the more screen time our kids have, that transition from screen time to not screen time, the longer they've been on, the worst that transition feels.
They wild out a little bit and it takes them a little bit longer to calm down.
Is there something to that?
- I think we can look at this in the same way we look at withdrawal from anything that gives people that instant satisfaction.
You do something and then all of a sudden your brain says, that was awesome, do it again.
Your brain says that, in the form of neurotransmitter called dopamine and the neurotransmitter heads over to an area of your brain called the prefrontal cortex, which helps with organizing tasks.
Here's the issue, this part of the brain isn't really developed until kids are in their mid twenties.
So think about what can happen when we're exciting this part of the brain, in these very young children.
Yes, they could probably experience a little bit of crankiness, fussiness in the form of screen time withdrawal.
- Can you like, literally be addicted to screens?
- Kids can have withdrawal symptoms.
You know, they get that dopamine, they get that rush.
They love it.
And young kids don't know how to emotionally regulate when you take a screen away from them.
So they go ballistic, they start crying.
A chemical addiction usually means that you need more and more of something to get the same level of, of enjoyment.
And that's not really what happens with screens.
- Is there a difference in how screen time affects kids?
Like, is there a difference between, you know, like a FaceTime call, interactive call or a video game?
- Scientists do think, and I think anecdotally, we can all agree that not all sprains are equal and not all activities that are being done on sprains are also equal.
And so, for example, you mentioned video games.
I love video games.
I'll play Mario kart with my high school friends all night, if I could.
But collaborative video games, have done some incredible things for some kids in terms of their ability to form relationships or think creatively.
You think about certain games that have taught children how to program or create, or, you know, it's.
It's incredible with some collaborative video games have done.
That's obviously very different than a one and a half year old, watching a lot of program television or a lot of cartoons.
And so, you know, the reason I stress this is because there is advertised programming for children under the age of two.
And we know that this does not work.
And in fact, this can actually reduce a child's ability to kind of develop expressive speech.
- Anything marketed to kids under two is just like a... - You know, honestly, I think it comes down to a child's ability to transfer what the child's seeing on the screen, and it's two dimensional world to something in real life.
There's no data to suggest that children under the age of two, can effectively do this.
Under the age of two, what you were already doing is probably what's best.
And that's interacting with your child and using your face, to teach your child words because children learn by hearing and interacting with, and seeing your facial expressions.
Which is why when you talk to young babies, you're like, do you want to eat creamed corn?
One study actually showed that with more time spent per week on screens, in kids age 24 to 36 months, there was a link with poor performance on tests for behavioral, social and cognitive development.
So there absolutely is a consequence to leaving those young kids on screens for too long and not letting them interact with the world and the people around them.
But also the type of the stuff you consume on screens gets a little bit more complicated as you get older, because social media.
- I feel like social media also uh, in its worst iteration really promotes unrealistic beauty standards.
Very biased beauty standards or biased cultural norms and expectations.
Which is not good for a child, who's developing their sense of self and really trying to understand their place in the world.
- [Alek] Yeah.
But there is some research suggesting that increased use, in teenagers can lead to things like anxiety, depression, obesity.
And I think it's important to know that this isn't necessarily a dose response relationship.
So, you know, researchers, aren't saying like, hey, with every one hour of screen time, your teen is more likely to have this mental health disorder, but a screen is not an adequate substitute ever for the other things that your, your child or your teenager should be doing that are central to his, her or their health.
Things like going outside and playing, taking care of their mind, their body, their spirit, interacting with people.
- [Bethany] Also the way kids consume media now... Like social media.
I think must affect things like self-esteem.
- Absolutely I then worry about the risk seeking behaviors that this encourages, you know.
Let me take the craziest selfie possible.
Let me hang from a bridge and take a video.
All of a sudden your reward center went... Whoa, you're a viral sensation.
You better do it again.
And you better do something crazier.
This time you better be upside down off a bridge because you gotta keep going viral.
- You know what else is a viral sensation?
- COVID is viral sensation.
- Not all viral sensations are good.
Behind the screens.
(Alek laughing) - Behind the screens.
This four year old.
- Behind when we return.
- Behind to screens a four year old, who watches too much cartoons.
(high intensity techno music) (bouncy piano music)