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【教育专栏】小心!远离“网瘾”,别让电子产品绑架了自己的孩子(2015-9-20 9:32:18)


在中国,青少年沉溺电子游戏的情况似乎正在加剧,引起人们的担忧。对于孩子每天花数小时玩电子产品的美国家长来说,这一问题可能也需要特别注意。下周一将在美国公共电视网(PBS)上播出的纪录片《网瘾者》(Web Junkie),突出展示了沉迷于电子游戏会给青少年带来的灾难性的影响。这些青少年会连着玩几十个小时的电子游戏,中间不吃不睡,甚至不上厕所。他们中的很多人已经把现实世界反当作是虚幻的。

Excessive use of computer games among young people in China appears to be taking an alarming turn and may have particular relevance for American parents whose children spend many hours a day focused on electronic screens. The documentary “Web Junkie,” to be shown next Monday on PBS, highlights the tragic effects on teenagers who become hooked on video games, playing for dozens of hours at a time often without breaks to eat, sleep or even use the bathroom. Many come to view the real world as fake.


Chinese doctors consider this phenomenon a clinical disorder and have established rehabilitation centers where afflicted youngsters are confined for months of sometimes draconian therapy, completely isolated from all media, the effectiveness of which remains to be demonstrated.


While Internet addiction is not yet considered a clinical diagnosis here, there’s no question that American youths are plugged in and tuned out of “live” action for many more hours of the day than experts consider healthy for normal development. And it starts early, often with preverbal toddlers handed their parents’ cellphones and tablets to entertain themselves when they should be observing the world around them and interacting with their caregivers.

2013年,美国儿科学会(American Academy of Pediatrics )在其就“儿童、青少年与媒”发布的政策声明中,援引了凯泽家族基金会(Kaiser Family Foundation)2010年发布的一些令人震惊的研究数据:8-10岁的儿童每天花将近8个小时接触各种各样的媒介,更大一些的儿童和青少年则每天花11个多小时在这些事情上。”之前最受欢迎的“儿童保姆”是电视,它如今还是占主导地位的媒介,但计算机、平板电脑和手机正在逐渐取代其位置。

In its 2013 policy statement on “Children, Adolescents, and the Media,” the American Academy of Pediatrics cited these shocking statistics from a Kaiser Family Foundation study in 2010: “The average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children and teenagers spend more than 11 hours per day.” Television, long a popular “babysitter,” remains the dominant medium, but computers, tablets and cellphones are gradually taking over.


“Many parents seem to have few rules about use of media by their children and adolescents,” the academy stated, and two-thirds of those questioned in the Kaiser study said their parents had no rules about how much time the youngsters spent with media.


Parents, grateful for ways to calm disruptive children and keep them from interrupting their own screen activities, seem to be unaware of the potential harm from so much time spent in the virtual world.

“我们整天把这些电子产品扔给孩子们,是在分散他们的注意力,而不是教他们如何自我安抚,如何让自己平静下来,”与哈佛大学有关联的临床心理学家凯瑟琳·斯泰纳-阿代尔(Catherine Steiner-Adair)说道,她也是畅销书《大失联:在数字化时代如何保护童年与家庭关系》(The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age)的作者。

“We’re throwing screens at children all day long, giving them distractions rather than teaching them how to self-soothe, to calm themselves down,” said Catherine Steiner-Adair, a Harvard-affiliated clinical psychologist and author of the best-selling book “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age.”


Before age 2, children should not be exposed to any electronic media, the pediatrics academy maintains, because “a child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.” Older children and teenagers should spend no more than one or two hours a day with entertainment media, preferably with high-quality content, and spend more free time playing outdoors, reading, doing hobbies and “using their imaginations in free play,” the academy recommends.

过多使用电子媒介会给儿童的行为、健康和学业表现带来很大的负面影响。西雅图儿童研究所的迪米特里·A·克里斯塔基斯(Dimitri A. Christakis)表示,观看太多虚拟暴力行为的儿童,可能会对这种暴力麻木,他们自身更容易做出暴力行为,也更难理解他人的感受。而虚拟暴力行为常见于很多流行的电子游戏中。

Heavy use of electronic media can have significant negative effects on children’s behavior, health and school performance. Those who watch a lot of simulated violence, common in many popular video games, can become immune to it, more inclined to act violently themselves and less likely to behave empathetically, said Dimitri A. Christakis of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

在为其毕业论文做准备的过程中,罗德岛大学学生克里斯蒂娜·E·哈奇(Kristina E. Hatch)对孩子们最喜欢的电子游戏进行了调查。一个四年级学生表示自己最喜欢《使命召唤:黑色行动》(Call of Duty: Black Ops),因为“里面有僵尸,你可以用枪杀死他们,里面还有暴力……我喜欢血和暴力。”

In preparing an honors thesis at the University of Rhode Island, Kristina E. Hatch asked children about their favorite video games. A fourth-grader cited “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” because “there’s zombies in it, and you get to kill them with guns and there’s violence … I like blood and violence.”

《青少年与青春期》(Journal of Youth and Adolescence)杂志的一项研究显示,人们已经发现,如果青少年花很多时间玩含暴力内容的电子游戏,或在电视上观看有暴力内容的节目,他们会更具攻击性,也更容易和同龄人发生打斗,与老师们发生争执。

Teenagers who spend a lot of time playing violent video games or watching violent shows on television have been found to be more aggressive and more likely to fight with their peers and argue with their teachers, according to a study in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.


Schoolwork can suffer when media time infringes on reading and studying. And the sedentary nature of most electronic involvement — along with televised ads for high-calorie fare — can foster the unhealthy weights already epidemic among the nation’s youth.


Two of my grandsons, ages 10 and 13, seem destined to suffer some of the negative effects of video-game overuse. The 10-year-old gets up half an hour earlier on school days to play computer games, and he and his brother stay plugged into their hand-held devices on the ride to and from school. “There’s no conversation anymore,” said their grandfather, who often picks them up. When the family dines out, the boys use their devices before the meal arrives and as soon as they finish eating.

“上学路上,如果允许孩子们玩《糖果粉碎传奇》(Candy Crush),这趟车就会很安静,但这不是孩子真正需要的,”斯泰纳·阿代尔博士在一次接受采访时讲道。“他们需要幻想,需要应对自己的焦虑,以及整理自己的想法和父母进行交流,父母则帮助他们打消疑虑。”

“If kids are allowed to play ‘Candy Crush’ on the way to school, the car ride will be quiet, but that’s not what kids need,” Dr. Steiner-Adair said in an interview. “They need time to daydream, deal with anxieties, process their thoughts and share them with parents, who can provide reassurance.”


Technology is a poor substitute for personal interaction.


Out in public, Dr. Steiner-Adair added, “children have to know that life is fine off the screen. It’s interesting and good to be curious about other people, to learn how to listen. It teaches them social and emotional intelligence, which is critical for success in life.”


Children who are heavy users of electronics may become adept at multitasking, but they can lose the ability to focus on what is most important, a trait critical to the deep thought and problem solving needed for many jobs and other endeavors later in life.

发短信有可能成为下一个全国性的“流行病”。皮尤研究中心(Pew Research Center )的阿曼达·伦哈特(Amanda Lenhart)在2012年的一项研究中发现,有一半13到19岁的青少年每天会发出50条或更多的短信,而年龄在13到17岁之间青少年则每月平均发送3364条短信。该机构更早的一项研究显示,青少年每晚上床以后平均还会发出34条短信,这会加重在他们中已经非常普遍且有害的睡眠剥夺问题。而且,就像哈奇所指出的,“随着孩子们更多通过电子媒介实现交流,而更少面对面地交流,他们开始感觉更加孤独和沮丧。”

Texting looms as the next national epidemic, with half of teenagers sending 50 or more text messages a day and those aged 13 through 17 averaging 3,364 texts a month, Amanda Lenhart of the Pew Research Center found in a 2012 study. An earlier Pew study found that teenagers send an average of 34 texts a night after they get into bed, adding to the sleep deprivation so common and harmful to them. And as Ms. Hatch pointed out, “as children have more of their communication through electronic media, and less of it face to face, they begin to feel more lonely and depressed.”


There can be physical consequences, too. Children can develop pain in their fingers and wrists, narrowed blood vessels in their eyes (the long-term consequences of which are unknown), and neck and back pain from being slumped over their phones, tablets and computers.


This is the first of two columns on electronic media use by children and adolescents. Next week: Parents’ role in children’s use of electronics.