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Creatively Pushing Buttons

09-11-14 SQ BlogYou’ve seen it play out at least a dozen times – you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or in the checkout line with a parent who’s battling a bored child. The child starts whining, asking for candy or pop, making annoying noises, or getting into areas that are off-limits. Suddenly, the parent hands over a cell phone or tablet, and the previously energetic child because a zombie tapping the screen. There’s no denying that electronic devices can give parents a much-needed break, but that break comes at a cost. Our culture’s reliance on technology has negatively affected both children and adults alike – reducing our creativity and making us more susceptible to disease.
Developing Brains
Although you probably felt like you had all the answers when you were a teenager, you brain wasn’t done developing. In fact, it didn’t stop until you were well into your 20s. The same is true of your children. Their brains grow throughout childhood and adolescence, learning to think, reason, and create. For this reason, technology can do more than just steer kids away from more productive activities like reading or making crafts; it can actually change the way they think. Scientists have proven that exposure to technology can reduce children’s attention spans and make it harder for them to comprehend what they read. This can make it harder for them to thrive in the classroom or in the work world once they graduate.
Reduced Creativity
It’s always a treat to watch a child conversing with her dolls or rescuing a fictitious kingdom with his action figures. But while this kind of play is unquestionably adorable, it’s also much more. Children develop their problem solving, creativity, and thinking skills through play. They learn through playing! When children spend more time on electronic devices, they spend less time playing and become less creative. According to the Washington Post, researchers have recently noticed reduced creativity in children for the first time in 50 years, a phenomena that’s likely due to the fact that children spend most of their time glued to a screen rather than playing make believe.
Effect on Adults
When was the last time you went into a restaurant and saw a pair or group of adults talking instead of staring at their phones? It’s probably been a while. Unfortunately, children aren’t the only ones addicted to technology. The tech bug has bitten adults too – and the bite stings. Not only are adults losing the ability to have real conversations and develop strong relationships because technology has stolen their focus, but there is also evidence that electronic devices are eroding adults’ brains. According to a Swedish study, repeated use of cell phones can destroy the brain cells required for memory, learning, and movement, leading to early onset Alzheimer’s. To save your brain and relationships, limit your cell phone use. Leaving the phone in a different room for a few hours and telling friends and family that you won’t be available on the device for certain periods of time is a good way to break the cell phone habit.
Technology has given us much advancement that helps our children learn and helps us live longer. But it has a negative side as well. When adults or children become addicted to technology, they suffer. There’s no way to creatively push buttons. To develop creativity, children must play, pretend, draw, and read. Similarly, once brain cells are gone, there’s no way to get them back again. SelectQuote wants you to be aware of the dangers technology poses to you and your family. By monitoring and limiting both your and your children’s technology time, you can save relationships, creativity, and even brain cells.

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