Tablets, Smartphones May Interfere with Children's Social Development

Tablets and smartphones are often used as a pacifier during mealtime for youngsters. But researchers speculate that this use could be detrimental to a child's ability to learn self-control.

We've all seen it at restaurants before: parents propping their smartphones or tablets in front of their toddlers to pacify them long enough to get through the meal. It's a wonder we have pacifiers anymore. However, Joanna Walters from The Guardian highlights a new study that speculates on the detrimental effects this kind of distraction may have on a child's ability to learn self-control.


The researchers ponder:

“If these devices become the predominant method to calm and distract young children, will they be able to develop their own internal mechanisms of self-regulation?”

Gadgets and tablets are still relatively new. Psychologists and scientists are making discoveries on how this technology impacts our day-to-day life and our development as functioning human beings, seemingly, every day. However, tablets aren't just portable televisions; there are games and interactive media where children can learn. But Jenny Radesky, a clinical instructor in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at Boston University, doesn't see the difference. She said in a statement:

"It has been well-studied that increased television time decreases a child's development of language and social skills. Mobile media use similarly replaces the amount of time spent engaging in direct human-human interaction."

The findings were published in the journal Pediatrics, where researchers suggest parents opt for person-to-person interaction over media (interactive or not). Radesky voices her concern over the use of gadgetry as a substitute for learning, as she fears it could impair a child's ability to empathize and problem-solve—social nuances that are learned during unstructured play.

There's research that shows educational television and interactive media can help a child learn vocabulary and reading, but only once they begin to approach school age. Radesky suggests:

"At this time, there are more questions than answers when it comes to mobile media. Until more is known about its impact on child development quality family time is encouraged, either through unplugged family time, or a designated family hour."

Read more at The Guardian.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

Are we all multiple personalities of universal consciousness?

Bernardo Kastrup proposes a new ontology he calls “idealism” built on panpsychism, the idea that everything in the universe contains consciousness. He solves problems with this philosophy by adding a new suggestion: The universal mind has dissociative identity disorder.

We’re all one mind in "idealism." (Credit: Alex Grey)
Mind & Brain

There’s a reason they call it the “hard problem.” Consciousness: Where is it? What is it? No one single perspective seems to be able to answer all the questions we have about consciousness. Now Bernardo Kastrup thinks he’s found one. He calls his ontology idealism, and according to idealism, all of us and all we perceive are manifestations of something very much like a cosmic-scale dissociative identity disorder (DID). He suggests there’s an all-encompassing universe-wide consciousness, it has multiple personalities, and we’re them.

Keep reading Show less

New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
Keep reading Show less