Which cognitive training program is best for your child? Of course, we're biased in favor of ours, but that aside, you probably don't want one that asks you to plop your child down in front of a computer and walk away for an hour. That may help produce a teenager, and maybe even an adult, who is uncomfortable with direct human interaction.
The Wall Street Journal reported in the article, "Most Teens Prefer to Chat Online, Rather Than in Person" (9/10/18), that teens have increased their use of (and preference for) electronic communication drastically over the past six years. The article cited a Common Sense Media survey of 1,141 teens, from 13 to 17, earlier in 2018. Just 32% of teens favored talking to friends face-to-face, while a whopping 68% preferred texting, social media, video chatting, telephone, or other means. The numbers in 2012 were 49% and 51%, respectively. That's a remarkable jump for half a dozen years.
Is all this screen time contributing to the rise in ADHD, depression, and suicide rates in teens? Might it be making our kids less likely to have deep relationships? The answer falls between “maybe” and “definitely,” depending on which researchers you read. Almost none say “no.”
In the article, "Tencent Tells Young Gamers to Hit Pause" (11/06/18), the Journal tells us that Chinese tech giant Tencent is taking steps to limit the time Chinese kids can play its video games. Those from 13 to 18 will be able to play two hours per day, while 12-year-olds and younger kids will only get an hour. Remember, in communist China, there's no clear line between business and government.
This restriction smacks heavily of George Orwell's 1984, but it shows that the Chinese government is concerned about the amount of time Chinese youths are spending on their screens. Apparently, kids have been "skipping their homework to play [a game] late into the night."
I'm no fan of companies dictating what their customers can do. Nor do I condone a government's usurpation of parents' authority to make decisions for their children. However, I ask myself what might happen to our children if we fail to limit the time they spend texting and playing games on their devices. As much as I dislike their tactics, perhaps the People's Republic has a point.
If your child isn't yet in the 13 to 17 demographic, he or she will be soon. As you search for a program to help a child of any age catch up and excel in school, we recommend you select from those that require little or no screen time. Help your younger child grow into a teenager and adult who is very comfortable with face-to-face communication and able to resist the urge to be online all the time.
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