The documentary Web Junkie, by filmmakers Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia, highlights the harmful effects that screen addiction can have on children and teenagers. It shows how the youth of China can get hooked on video games and social media. Some of them play for dozens of hours at a time, often without any breaks. Chinese experts have come to classify this phenomenon as a clinical disorder.
Click-A-Brick Co-Founder Jason Smith calls attention to the images represented in the documentary. “I was worried about what I saw,” Smith said. “There’s no doubt that cell phones, iPads, and social media have become a dominant presence in our - and by extension- our children’s lives. However, technology is a double edged sword. It’s brought about wonderful change and hope for the future, but if not used correctly it can cut us, just like the images on the documentary. I see it as a wake up call for us as a society to be more responsible and focus on the positive aspects that technology can bring about.”
Recent studies have found that children and teens spend from eight to ten hours a day in front of a screen. This can be detrimental as excessive use of electronic media can impact children’s behaviour and health. Schoolwork can also suffer when screen time takes the place of reading and studying.
Pediatricians recommend that children before age 2 should not be exposed to excessive electronic media. Since a child’s brain develops rapidly in those early years, the optimal activity is for children to interact with the world around them and not what is on a screen. Older children and especially teenagers should spend at most one or two hours with entertainment media. They should spend more time outdoors and and use their imagination in free play.
Georg de Gorostiza, Click-A-Brick Co-Founder, appeals to those findings. “We believe that it’s healthy to establish limits on how much time children spend on screens,” de Gorostiza said. “You see, as good as technology can be, it’s just another tool for development and growth. We want to give children more opportunities to interact with the world around them. For example, our toy sets like Animal Kingdom were designed to allow children to develop deep thought and problem solving skills. These are traits critical for success in life.”
The documentary Web Junkie, an official selection of the 2014 Sundance Film festival, is available to view online from July 14, 2015 to August 13, 2015.
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