We are in new territory. Computers, tablets and smartphones are here to stay. Considering all of the conflicting advice, will your teen turn out to be an internet-enhanced genius or a smartphone-addled addict? Or will such a distinction soon not exist anymore?

David Bickham, a research scientist at Harvard University’s Centre on Media and Child Health, has spent more than 20 years exploring how media, as an environmental factor, can influence children’s physical, mental and social development. He states that it is important to differentiate between general media use – just exposure to devices like tablets – (and) programs that are specifically designed for education.

The evidence, according to Bickham, shows convincingly that it’s not so much the exposure to a device that makes the difference, but it’s what you do with it and the content you’re exposed to. He cautions people to use media mindfully and it should never replace important parent-teen interactions. We are interpersonal beings and our information comes from our interactions with other people.

The Weekend Australian, May 13-14, 2017: Inquirer section.

“Digital gain for a growing brain may not add up.” Suvi Mahonen