This chapter in Debi Pearl’s book “Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity” is titled ‘Sacrificing Our Brains to the Screen’ BRAINSSSSSSSSSSS!!! Imagine I’m speaking this in a very bad Boris Karloff horror movie voice. Even though Debi has already sounded off repeatedly about the supposed dangers of tv screens, computer screens, tablet screens and cell phone screens here we are again in this very dumb place. Last week’s review is here.
Michael and Debi are consistent in one thing. They hate screens like cell phone screens. They believe all sorts of evil that a kid would never encounter otherwise proceeds from these screens. All the while moaning about pornography stapled in the trees of the woods and other not screen evils assaulting their kids.
“Brain researchers assert that the great dumbing-down of this generation is primarily due to the digital playground consuming children……it is what the brain is not doing when held captive by a screen. If, instead of being exposed to games and movies, children were held in isolation for the same period of time, the dumbing-down results would be pretty much the same…”
Studies or it didn’t happen. Researchers have concluded that too much unlimited screen time early on can slow development and meeting developmental milestones, but not the extent that Debi is claiming here. MIT researchers are still studying this, coming to this conclusion (as published in Time magazine)
“The researchers found that over time, children who spent more time using TV or computers did indeed show poorer performance on the developmental measures. But they did not find evidence that the opposite was occurring; it did not seem that children with developmental issues were more likely to spend time in front of a screen. The links remained strong even after they accounted for other factors that can influence developmental milestones, including parents’ education, how physically active the children were and whether parents read to their children regularly. “
In layman’s terms the jury is still out on long term effects. It’s not all bad either. The researcher went on to say this, which pretty much kills Debi’s argument:
“Not all screen time is detrimental, she says, and her study did not delve into the quality of programming the children were watching. The way in which children are using TV or computers is also important. Watching with parents or caregivers, for example, can make the experience more engaging and less passive, and can even provide opportunities for learning and social development. “Families can develop healthy media habits,” she says. “When parents watch with their children, they can point out interesting things and contribute to language skills and learning.”
Debi’s response? Some crap out of a book that was published more than twenty years ago, not the latest information.
“College professors complain of having to ‘dumb-down’ their teaching due to students inability to think deeply”
Newsflash Debi, I remember my lovely mother in law, a college professor, making the same complaint all the way back in 1982, before screens took over. I’d heard it before, I’ve heard it since. Not relevant to the discussion.
Debi’s claims involve the fact that screens are two dimensional and God created our brains to only function 1n three dimensional ways. Plus noises wrecking the brain. Really? Literally this is the crux of her argument against screens. She claims that screen noises release brain chemicals that destroy the brain.
“Screened electronics are inflicting serious mental impairment on this generation of children”
“Each type of media–whether it be radio, internet or TV– changes the balance of our individual senses, increasing some at the expense of others.”
But that is true of every thing, person and place we interact with every single day. Literally the entire world “changes the balance” of everything about us. This is not a valid argument.
Then Debi goes on to quote a.. get ready for it… are you… a Chiropractor…. HAHAHAHAHA!!. Not that there is not a time and place for Chiropractic, there is. but more when you throw your back out than for advice that should only come from legitimate early childhood development experts.
Debi’s expert claims that 92% of one year olds use screens routinely, which I find very hard to believe knowing the minuscule attention spans of one year olds. She bashes all forms of television watching for kids, pushing book reading instead, before moving on to a lot of rehashing of how the brain works that has already been covered by the Debster.
Debi warns you that whatever your child sees or experiences from earliest babyhood forms their personality. I would dispute this just after raising three children in almost identical ways and coming around with three completely different personalities. I recently read one study that says personality is an executive function of top brain and bottom brain, pretty much hardwired in from a very early age.
Moving on to brain waves. Debi has some very standard brain wave information down that you cannot dispute. But she spends a inordinate amount of time talking about the creative potential of dreams, how Paul McCartney of the Beatles dreamed the song “Yesterday” before waking up to write it. Not entirely true, like much in Debi’s book. Paul did wake up with the melody and chords, but it took another 18 months or so before it was a completely song. The first place holder lyrics were “Scrambled Eggs”. McCartney did not just wake up fait accompli with the completed song.
And we are DONE for this week. Next week’s chapter is about how the brain and the gut are connected. Oh boy! Pseudo-science ahoy!
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