(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)
You can put your children in front of screens, but those who make the screens will continue to put their children in front of books.»
Guillaume Erner, professor of sociology
On the other side of the intersection from my apartment lives a family with a large TV. It covers an entire wall in their apartment, and even a few hundred meters away, the heads on the TV screen are many times larger than the heads of those living inside. From my kitchen I can see about half screenone, and when I look up from my computer screen and out the window towards the trees at the end of the street from my home office desk to think about something, the massive TV screen draws my attention to it. It starts in the corner of the left eye, which quickly takes the rest of the eye and the other eye with it. Because look! A giant soccer ball flies across the screen in slow motion. A car speeds wildly down a highway. An abnormal head speaks. Only my mouth is bigger than my hand, and I, who don't have a TV at home myself, take it upon myself to follow what the neighbor is watching. I have to imagine the sounds. I expect they have surround systems.
Desmurget dispels the myth that children and young people fall behind if they do not have access to a screen.
After the neighbors had children, the program was quickly expanded. Bricks, balls and various colorful shapes now move around the TV screen. In the morning when I wake up. And in the afternoon. One children's program after another on the voluminous screen has made me feel a kind of terrified uneasiness.
When I came across Michel Desmurgets Screen Damage made me want to walk across the street and call and ask them to read this important book about children's screen use and the consequences, especially for children between zero and six. Desmurget asks if the digital revolution is an opportunity for future generations, or is it, in Desmurget's own words, "a grim mechanism for creating imbeciles"?
The digital adventure
According to Desmurget, today we are witnessing a digital over-consumption among children and young people like no other addiction would set all alarm bells ringing. With the help of research and scientific studies, he dispels myths and urban legends about how smart children and young people become by being exposed to the digital adventure. According to him, they become good at multitasking, but not at evaluating the information flowing in the media channels, and they spend much more time consuming than creating themselves. He also dispels the myth that children and young people fall behind if they do not have access to a screen. On the other hand, he emphasizes the importance of other learning between zero and six, while the brain is most plastic, and writes that digital can steal vital and valuable interaction and development time that a child can never get back. However, the room for learning digital is always open.
There are up to several screens here in my apartment too, even though I don't have a TV. None of the neighbors get it, but I sit, and have over several years, my seven-year-old in front of an iPad, laptop or a phone. Often the one hour a day we have agreed is stretched. I don't always have as good control over the content either, because seven is lightning quick to maneuver online. The more I read in Screen Damage, the stronger the guilt for the injuries I must have caused her and my nineteen-year-old son. The reading is so unpleasant that I google the author Michel Desmurget. He writes with the anger and conviction of an activist. Is he to be trusted? Is he really right? Are there no advantages to all these screens? My children are much better at English than I was at their age. That's something, isn't it?
The author writes relentlessly about the digital industry that seeks profit at the expense of consumer health.
Desmurget has a doctorate in neuroscience and recognizes i Screen Damage all the obviously positive aspects of digital development. But he writes mercilessly about children and young people's leisure use of screens and the digital industry that seeks profit at the expense of consumers' health: "If recent history has taught us anything, it is that our industrial friends do not easily give up the profits they amass, even if this is detrimental to consumer health.”
according to Screen Damage could we end up with a class divide between those who have been spared screen use, and those who have been allowed to consume freely and perhaps have been robbed of both sleep and quality of life – as well as opportunities for optimal development of their human potential, socially as well as professionally. But Desmurget fortunately has a cure. It is free. It is strict. It is simple. And it is reminiscent of any cure for addiction. Minimize accessibility. Children between zero and six should not be exposed to screens at all. Children over the age of six and young people should be exposed to screen use in the form of entertainment for a maximum of half an hour to an hour per day, including TV viewing. Preferably not early in the morning before school and not in the evening before they go to bed. So easy. And so difficult.