What is “Electronic Screen Syndrome”?



There’s anticipation in the air as many families prepare for a long summer break. This is a time when vacations are prearranged and special events are scheduled. But what about those ordinary, lazy days of summer?


If your kids are spending time at home this summer, it is a good idea to have a plan in place. Without one, most will use their summertime for screen time. And with recent studies showing a correlation between media viewing and behavioral changes, parents must become increasingly intentional about monitoring their kids’ free time.


In a recent interview[1], child psychiatrist and author Dr. Victoria Dunckley discussed a new term she uses to identify the condition she sees among children who are “obsessed” with digital devices: electronic screen syndrome, which indicates an overstimulation of the nervous system due to excessive screen time, affecting “focus, behavior and mood”. This isn’t just a condition seen in adolescents, either, as electronic device usage often begins in the toddler years. According to a research study[2] published by Common Sense Media, “38% of children under 2 have used a mobile device for media”.


Obviously, there are different approaches for different families to address this challenge, from establishing “screen-free” zones to limiting unsupervised access. Whatever your plan of action, summertime is a good time to implement it.


If you haven’t created a family policy yet, don’t delay. Whether it is just for you and your spouse, or your entire family, establishing guidelines will help you address current issues and prevent future ones. For a helpful resource, follow this link: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/technology-addiction-concern-controversy-and-finding-balance/resources.


Franklin Santagate is the Vice President of Pure Flix Global Strategic Alliances, which works with denominations, ministries, and organizations by finding common vision, assets, resources and influence. From that position, we create initiatives we can do together that we cannot do apart, reaching our mutual objectives and expanding the Kingdom of God. To discover more or to become a Pure Flix Global Strategic Alliance partner go to http://pureflixalliance.com/join/.


[1] http://abcnews.go.com/US/parents-young-kids-obsessed-electronic-devices-intervention/story?id=47440038

[2] https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/zero-to-eight-childrens-media-use-in-america-2013/key-finding-2%3A-kids%27-time-on-mobile-devices-triples