Experts Caution “Strive for Balance” With Technology Use
Panelists at "Child, Disrupted" documentary screening discussed technology use and child development.
With interest in how to ensure their children don’t get too much of a good thing, more than 200 parents, educators and health professionals attended a screening of the documentary film Child, Disrupted. Co-sponsored by School Linked Services and Campbell Union School District, the film presented facts about technology use and child development.
Following the movie, Superintendent Shelly Viramontez moderated a question-answer discussion with panelists Filmmaker Krista Riihmaki, Common Sense Media Regional Manager Jamie Nuñez, Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg, and District Special Education Administrator and Psychologist Stephanie Cima.
The most frequent message from panelists was to seek balance with technology.
Filmmaker Riihimaki shared a personal story about the negative role technology played in her brother’s mental health, and ultimate demise, that motivated her to make Child, Disrupted. The experts in the film emphasized that social interaction and interacting with the physical world is critical to brain development in children, from infants and through their teens.
“Overuse of technology has an impact on physical and mental health,” said Common Sense’s Jamie Nuñez. To reduce excessive use, he suggested first looking at the relationship you have with the child and considering some family rules.”
Supervisor Ellenberg suggested increasing activities that don’t involve technology, such as hiking, and going to the park. She also shared that First 5 has resource centers that provide a range of support services.
For schools, Superintendent Viramontez noted that there have been compelling reasons to increase technology use in schools, among them: providing students with more equity in access to instruction, teaching them how to use technology as a tool for creating rather than passive consuming, and preparing them with the skills they will need in this Information Age.
“Technology is how our children are going to interact with the world," she said. "We would be doing them a disservice if we didn’t engage them in using technology effectively as a tool and not a distraction.”
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