The amount of screen time we are giving our kids has become a controversial topic. In part, this is because both sides have very good arguments. On one hand, it seems that we are better preparing our kids for the digital world that they will face in their professional future if we get them accustomed to and skilled with the use of digital devices early on, when learning is natural and intrinsic. But on the other hand, there are some consequences of this screen time. We worry that our youngest kids are not socializing effectively. And then as they grow older, they encounter new and often more serious consequences.
Excessive use of computer games among young people in China appears to be taking an alarming turn and may have particular relevance for American parents whose children spend many hours a day focused on electronic screens. The documentary “Web Junkie,” to be shown next Monday on PBS, highlights the tragic effects on teenagers who become hooked on video games, playing for dozens of hours at a time often without breaks to eat, sleep or even use the bathroom. Many come to view the real world as fake.