Jodie and Soda investigate childhood technology addiction
This morning, Jodie and Soda investigated one of our biggest problems we have with technology, addiction in children.
They were joined by David Gillespie, author of the book, ‘Teen Brain’.
It was ESSENTIAL listening. Hear it all in the video above.
Here’s some of the key things David told us…
“For the first time ever in human history we are exposing every single member of the generation to addiction and its scary - we’ve never done this, we don’t know what this looks like. Ten years ago, even, it was only the adventurous few who were exposed to addiction, those who were prepared to go out and get drugs or binge drink… now every single kid is exposed because we are giving them devices loaded up to the hills with software that is explicitly designed to addict them. We don’t know what it looks like to addict an entire generation, but we are about to find out.
“It’s not just in two years olds, try taking Fortnite off of a 14-year-old and see if he survives it. It is a very extreme reaction and that’s what you get when you take something away from someone who is addicted to it. That on its own tells you we are dealing it something really unusual… people don’t react like that when you take broccoli away from them, but they do react like that when you take Instagram away from them.
“Girls are very susceptible to a hormone called oxytocin which is the hormone that binds humans together. We liked to be liked by other humans. Normally the only way to achieve that feeling is to go out and meet other humans and o things they like you doing and do them for them. That’s how we’ve done it up until now and girls are particularly susceptible to that… teenage girls are off the scale susceptible to it because the breaking system that normally stops that from turning into an addiction is turned off during adolescence. The manufactures of software have done, is said ok we can stimulate that liking to be liked thing and run it in a program where every time they get a like on their photo or comment or a view on a video, they get a shot of oxytocin and it is very addictive for girls. I call that category of software approval porn. Porn because it stimulates the real thing at high speeds. Boys respond differently... boys like things different things entirely because they have testosterone, they like danger, they like excitement and risk. The game manufactures are all over that and they create something I call ‘danger porn’ which is things like Fortnite which simulate danger constantly and boys love that.
“The iPad was only invented in 2010, the first iPad landed in Australia in January 2011. This is very very recent stuff and so the science is not there in solid enough form to point to decades of studies but the science that is there is very concerning. There are already studies show 5-year old’s are lagging behind in cognitively, lagging behind in social skill developments- significant lags and they are the ones who have had it their entire lives. There are significant studies showing there are effects on depression and anxiety in teenagers using these software’, even though they haven’t had it their entire life. We are addicting an entire generation which means that not only will they suffer the consequences in massive increases in anxiety and depression, but that they become much more easily addicted to other things like opioids and so on. That’s just a bio chemical fact. Once addicted to one thing during adolescence you are twice as likely to be addicted to that your entire life, and more as likely to be addicted to something else in your life.
“I think the best thing to do would be to throw (devices) in the bin. The problem here is that they’re highly portable - we’re talking about phones, tablets that sort of thing. They’re highly portable devices, loaded up with free software which is designed to addict an adolescent mind, that then drives them in to anxiety and depression – which are the consequences of any kind of addiction.
“The problem is, a lot of those devices are in their hands because the parent wants them to have it for safety or the school requires them to have it for their homework! So throwing them out isn’t an option.
“Parents are also using these devices as baby sitters at restaurants and other places to avoid these tantrums, this is a bi product of child centric parenting because there are a lot less children nowadays and parents are at work a lot more.
“Another option is to give them a flip phone a device that can’t access the internet, yet you can still communicate with them.
“Regarding the tablets the school is requiring them to use, they say they need to do their homework (which is the truth), problem is what else are they doing with their fast little fingers changing screens? The only solution to that is – make sure they’re only used in a public space in the house where you can see them.. Go old school, pretend it’s an old fashioned computer attached to the wall in the lounge room, have them in a place where you can see what’s on the screen at all times..
“Parents need to set a good example: Kids won’t get off Instagram if you’re on Insta all the time, it’s gotta be ‘do as I do, not do as I say’. Adolescents are more susceptible to these addictions because their brains are developing, therefore is no braking system in their brains that adults do have.”