Technology has a huge impact on the brain, health, sleep rhythms, family life and child development. Researches performed brain scans on subjects playing a simple video game and saw how the neural circuitries involved in reward and addiction were activated.
In another study, scientists found dopamine levels in the brain are doubled during game play.
What dopamine does to our kid's brains
Dopamine is a chemical that activates the reward centre of the brain. It is basically nature's way of reinforcing behaviour that is necessary for survival. So simple things like eating will increase dopamine levels.
This hit of dopamine is the reason your kids love playing with technology and hate turning off their screens. Playing with games feels really good. In fact, all kinds of interactive screen use can bring about an increase in doapmine levels.
Here are some examples:
Finding the right balance
Dopamine is the exact same chemical that makes us feel good when we smoke, drink and gamble. In other words, it is highly addictive. The key to fighting this addiction is to find balance.
There is nothing wrong with social media and technology, but too much of it creates imbalance. For example, having dinner with friends but texting someone who is not there, sitting in a meeting but having your phone on the table, waking up and immediately checking the phone and so on.
When you cannot put away your devices, it is because you're addicted. And like any addictions, in time, it can destroy relationships, cost time and money, and it will make your life worse.
The struggle is real
Families like yours and mine are struggling to find balance. Like it or not, technology is not going to go away. We are exposed to new technology, apps and social media everyday.
So where do we find the balance?
Find out more in the next post.