Posted on 05-01-2014
|Is Modern Technology Affecting Our Children’s Musculoskeletal and Neurological Development?
In the March 2014 issue of the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics, author Sharon A. Vallone, DC, FICCP, emphasizes the importance of educating patients about chiropractic and a healthy lifestyle in the article with the headline above.
Children, especially, can benefit from education about chiropractic and a healthy lifestyle as this can affect their overall development. "Educating children, as well as adjusting the pediatric spine can have a vital impact on their growth and development including cognition, motor function and imagination," Vallone writes.
Dr. Vallone also addressed the use and possible abuse of present-day technology. She pointed out that this can have major negative influence on developing children as it floods their environment with data and communication but deprives them of old fashion stimulation. "Four years ago the iPad didn’t exist, and now people wonder how they ever survived without one. How many office visits are "calmer" because of a child being allowed to pacify themselves with a tablet or cell phone while their parents receive their chiropractic adjustment? But we should all be aware of the potential hazards of these constant pacifying activities especially with those younger than two years of age (American Academy of Pediatrics’ most current policy statement issued in 2011)."
Stimulation of all the senses is necessary for developing function and structure in children’s brains. "Children’s sensory experiences (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell and movement) stimulate neural activity that differentiates and creates the complex nerve networks that are key for optimum development in early life (Cynader & Mustard, 1998), Mustard, 2008)," Vallone writes.
The use of an iPad coloring app deprives a child of holding and smelling the crayon, hearing the scratchy sound of the crayon on paper, observing the differences in shading in the color while applying the crayon to paper, as well as, possibly, the taste of the crayon, according to Vallone. She warns that the iPad coloring app is not as stimulating an experience as the old fashion crayon and paper coloring experience, thereby resulting in sensory deprivation for the child and possible under-development of brain function and nerve networks.
A child’s learning can also be negatively impacted from the use of technology as children learn from other humans by mirroring behaviors. "Neuroscientists have also found that repeated observation of actions (either passive or active with the intention to reproduce the action) increases brain activity and can result in experience dependent changes (Chong et al., 2008). It is hypothesized that through the mirror neuron system, children develop the ability to understand the actions of others, to imitate and to teach others (Blakemore et al., 2005)," writes Vallone.
Vallone acknowledges that technology is an important tool for education and communication, and that academics are embracing technology for teaching children. However, Vallone concludes, "Multi-sensory experiences of normal, everyday life are actually far richer than getting to experience everything in the world through the screen of a tablet."
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