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12/18/2014
The Internet can be a fantastic educational resource and a source of great entertainment. That said, too much time spent staring at screens seems unhealthy; that’s just common sense. The Tutoring Center in Torrance would like to offer some further information regarding the damage that too much screen time can cause and a few tips on ensuring healthy browsing habits.

Recent studies have shown some alarming results from too much time spent browsing the Internet and/or playing video games:
  • Grey matter atrophy - shrinkage in ‘grey matter areas’ including the frontal lobe (responsible for planning and other executive functions) and the insula (involved in one’s ability to empathise with others and generating compassion).
  • Reduced white matter integrity - research also indicates damage to the brain’s ability to communicate between different regions (including communication between the left and right hemispheres) which could lead to impaired brain function in general.
  • Impaired cognitive function - general issues including less efficient information processing, reduced ability to control impulses, and skewed reactions to reward and loss have been indicated to be linked to unhealthy amounts of screen time.

What you can do to help

As a parent, it’s important that you set clear rules and offer guidance with regards to your child’s use of the Internet to ensure that they are not negatively affected by their browsing. Here are a few things you can do:
  • Limit their browsing - sit down with your child and discuss how long they can browse the Internet for each day and specific times that browsing is not allowed (during meals or other family activities, when they are supposed to be studying, etc.).
  • Control what content they can access - child-friendly browsers and parental controls are great ways to limit the content your child is exposed to. Do some research on the specific parental filters and content blocks offered by your internet service provider to find out more about how to go about this.
  • Offer alternatives - if your child has nothing to do, they’re likely to fall back on aimless Internet browsing. Make sure they have opportunities to play sports or participate in after-school clubs, and provide lots of reading material and games at home for their spare time.
  • Promote educational browsing - do some research and find some websites you think offer good educational value for your child, and encourage them to engage with these. There are countless educational games available, so your child can have fun and learn simultaneously.

If your child is struggling in any academic area, The Tutoring Center can help. We offer free diagnostic assessments which enable us to pinpoint how best to assist your child to excel at school. Call 347-922-2221 to find out more about tutoring in Torrance. 

(Sources courtesy of Psychology Today, February 2014 issue)

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