Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity – Chapter 8 Screens Are Evil Once Again

Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity – Chapter 8 Screens Are Evil Once Again January 18, 2020
Boris Karloff as Frankenstein in the film “The Bride of Frankenstein” All of Debi’s ravings in this book strike me as cheesy as old horror movies.

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!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Part 5Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Part 9

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jocelyn Zichtermann

13:24 A Dark Thriller by M Dolon Hickmon




About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.
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  • Gussie FinkNottle

    It’s true that our now-ubiquitous screen use hasn’t been a thing long enough for long term effects to be studied. However, all the most recent studies I could find DO indicate negative outcomes both in achievement and brain development associated with increased screen time in very young children. Moreover, this is consistent with older studies that linked rapid screen changes, forcing the watcher to constantly refocus (like when you watch TV) with poor attention span and underdeveloped executive function.

    There is certainly more research to be done. But it seems wise to me (and the WHO and AAP agree) to severely limit screen use in favor of activities that ARE associated with higher achievement and more robust brain development. Reading, talking, playing (physical & toys).

  • AFo

    I teach high school, and I’ve noticed that anxiety is skyrocketing among their generation, which some studies are linking to screen time. Obviously none of this is definitive, but my point is Debi doesn’t have to make things up if she wants to rail against them, and what she’s moaning about doesn’t seem to be the bigger problems.

  • The monster2 is often mistakenly called Frankenstein, but his name is Adam.

  • Friend

    Screen time might increase anxiety1, but I suspect the screen content affects it, as well as the hard news and wild rumors behind the content.

    Recently the youngs in my neighborhood were convinced that they were all going to be drafted and sent to Iran. There was so much panic nationwide that the Selective Service website crashed:

    That’s just one example. Fires in Australia, impeachment, mass sh00tings…

  • Whitney Currie
  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Now that seems a sensible reason. But Debi’s fear mongering you’ll destroy your baby’s brain does not

  • James

    I’m not even sure who Ms. Alexander’s audience is. Perhaps she’s trying to feel good about her own Stockholm Syndrome?

    It seems nearly everyone tears apart her blog and YouTube videos, from feminists to other Christians to atheists.

    Even the snarky political blog Wonkette went after her this morning with a post entitled “Nice Christian Lady Just Wants To Insult Some Fat2 People (For Their Own Good)” [yep, it is unchristian according to her to be overweight]

  • persephone

    I have a lot of days where I just glance through my twitter feed, make a couple of replies, then close it. It can be over9whelming and stress9ful. I have to remind myself that my stre9ssing out isn’t going to help.

    I did get nauseated when the as9sas9sination happened, because I have two sons are who eligible for the draft. But I also stressed because there could have been cyber atta9cks in response that could have affected US infrastructure.

  • Friend

    I pay a lot of attention to the news, but also limit exp0sure when my anxiety rises. Certain sites and platforms are more informative and easier to take. I also play soothing music.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    We covered that particular bit of fat2shaming by Lori the other day, but …. next week’s chapter of Debi’s book makes Lori’s fat2shaming look like an inexpert beginner. Debi takes it to a whole new disgusting level.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I have to do that too sometimes. Particularly when some of the Evagelicals, online and in real life, decide to issue “Come to Jesus”s because it can just go too sideways too quickly and spiral into name calling.

    When the assassination of Soleimani happened I was sicken for several days myself, started freaking out thinking my son might be drafted before I realized they’re not taking a 30 year old with flat feet, knee problems bad enough to have required surgery twice already and mild asthma.. I hope it does not come to war and the draft still though…

  • persephone

    I also sat and considered what problems my sons have that could keep them from being drafted. My older son is on the autism spectrum like me, is currently dealing with OCD, and would utterly wash out in basic training. My younger son is in therapy and is on antide9pressants. I think the draft is unlikely, but now that Trump has openly sent US soldiers to fight for the Saudis as merce9naries, I just don’t know.

  • Friend

    This might help… it comes from an article about people being scared1 by b0gus “you’ve been drafted” texts:

    Even with tensions high between the United States and Iran, Congress and the president would have to enact legislation to reactivate the draft, and such a move would be unlikely, given the historic opposition that ended the last draft. Antiwar sentiment around the Vietnam War propelled the end of the draft in 1973, and the requirement to register for the draft was dropped two years later.

  • Saraquill

    Three monkeys on one typewriter over a long weekend can refute this book.

  • Saraquill

    That was my and my dad’s fear during W’s Iraq garbage. Though I’m disabled, we weren’t sure if I’d be called up regardless.

  • Sassafras

    Pearl’s “logic”:
    Beating children=good

    I fucking2 hate these abusive whackjobs!

  • Nea

    I can’t wait to hear about how proper diet will avoid all the health problems Mikey’s suffering right now.

  • Jennifer

    Whoa! I knew Frankenstein was the doc’s name, but not what the monster’s name actually was.

  • IDK, I had plenty of play time and outside time and quiet reading time growing up, and I’m still a giant bundle of anxiety* (on a good day). Not sure the screens are the cause, but maybe the screens, and social media, are making it more visible and more acceptable to talk about.

    *Yes, I’m medicated for it. I forking LOVE modern chemistry.

  • I’ve been disabled from birth — full time wheelchair user — and various branches spent years pursuing me with offers despite me explaining that not only am I disabled and unfit, I’m not bloody interested!

  • Mimc

    I suspect that when the data comes in it will not be the screen itself but the reduction in time spent doing other important things. For example, some studies have linked spending too little time outside with near-sightedness. And of course we already know that sleep is very important.

  • persephone

    The draft was dropped, but selective service is still active and mandatory.

  • Friend

    Yes. Men still have to register at age 18. But there is no law to compel them to serve. Making such a law would pose a major challenge.

  • Zeldacat

    Around the time I graduated from high school I got all sorts of mail from the various branches and I wanted to respond to them with “YOU DON’T WANT MY DISABLED SELF, TRUST ME!” I would rather not think about the sort of condition the world would be in before the military would want me. I’m thinking just pre-total apocalypse.