childipadThis week I was interviewed on ABC News breakfast about the after effects of thousands of children receiving a technology device for Christmas. While Santa happily gave many children a device for Christmas there are still many concerns.  I explained that apart from the entertainment and educational value that interest children in these devices, technology is a sought after commodity in our current society and children want to be part of it. A continuing concern of parents is the long-term effects of children consistently using technology from a young age. I explained that as this is still a fairly new phenomenon, we don’t we have research to indicate what these effects might be. However, we have research in other areas which give us important points to think about. A screen (technology device or TV screen) is very seductive for people- adults as well as children, and we can spend hours and hours completely absorbed by what is happening on the screen. If a child continually uses a technology device alone then it is likely that at that time they are also disconnected from the social environment in which they are using the screen including the people and conversation around them. This is a serious concern and can effect their ability to connect with others and develop relationships with their family and friends. The key is balance. Ensure children are not locked in their bedroom for hours using their device. Develop ground rules about appropriate amounts of time they can spend using their device, make sure these ground rules are a little flexible, that they reflect the time in the family home (for example a child may spend more time on their device during school holidays than during the school term). Ensure children understand the need for balance in their lives.