Is Screen Addiction Real? Is Technology a Drug?

THE GREAT SCREEN DEBATE: Are your kids too hooked on technology? Jane Brody, a nutrition and health columnist for the The New York Times, argues “Screen Addiction Is Taking a Toll on Children” as they increasingly get hand-me-down smartphones and tablets from parents. “Technology is a poor substitute for personal interaction,” argues Brody, a grandparent, who cites findings from pediatricians and researchers to draw a tenuous link between device overuse to sleep deprivation, obesity and depression.

If those arguments sounds a little alarmist, you’re not alone. Former teacher and high school counselor Jocelyn Brewer takes issue with the addiction analogy, arguing that “Technology is not a drug.” (Emphasis in original.) Overusing technology can have harmful effects, Brewer admits. But she urges for a “more realistic and responsible commentary on the issues relating to kids and technology,” that focus on “the content, context and function of screen activities.”

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