Social Experiment: What Happens When Children Don’t Have Access To Internet for One Day

March 2, 2016
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Does your child spend too much time attached to her smart phone?

Do your kids seem physically dependent on their social media apps?

Are you worried that his technology habits are a tad on the unhealthy side?

Unfortunately, parental concerns about kids’ tech habits might not be too far off, as one study’s shocking results reveal exactly how much kids do rely on that Internet connection.

As part of an experiment by child psychologist Yekaterina Murashova, a group of 68 kids and teens between the ages 12 and 18 voluntarily went eight hours alone without using any type of communication device. (This included phone and the Internet.) The kids were also banned from computers, all electronic devices, radios and TVs. However, they were permitted to participate in a variety of activities by themselves, including reading, writing, playing an instrument, needlework, walking, singing, painting and more.

These volunteers kept a record of their actions and thoughts during the process and were to be asked to explain the following day how they coped under the conditions. If, for some reason, the kids experienced excessive anxiety or stress, the experiment could be stopped immediately. Here’s a quick look at the results:

  • Only three participants — one girl and two boys — out of 68 made it to the end of this experiment.
  • Three of the participants had suicidal thoughts.
  • Five participants experienced intense panic attacks.
  • Twenty-seven experienced symptoms like nausea, sweating, dizziness, hot flushes and abdominal pain.
  • Almost everyone who took part experienced feelings of fear and anxiety.

(To read more about the results of this experiment, read this article from Brightside.me.)

Scary, isn’t it? Here are a few tips to help your child avoid or redirect Internet addiction, according to The Wall Street Journal:

  • Don’t disconnect them entirely: Cutting off your kids’ Internet access altogether isn’t the solution. Instead, set firm limits, including specific time periods when they are allowed to be connected.
  • Put computers in common areas in the home: Because monitoring your child’s Internet usage can be nearly  impossible if they have access in their bedrooms, keep them out in the open. Consider keeping computers password-protected so they must ask permission before using.
  • No smartphones: If parents truly want to limit kids’ access to the Internet, smartphones are a no-no.
  • It’s OK to be accused of being old fashioned: Come up with other activities to occupy your child, whether it’s sports, music, art, etc.
  • Be the example: If you want to teach your children healthy Internet habits, then follow your own advice. Don’t constantly check emails and social media. Set aside daily tech-free time to disconnect from your smartphone and reconnect with your family.

Share your thoughts! Were you surprised by the study’s findings? Do you think your child has an Internet addiction?

One Comment

  1. Liberty Bryant

    May 26, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    I’ve observed my 4 year old son after watching trains or dumpster truck videos on YouTube. As we all get frustrated when the internet goes a little slower than we want. My son becomes demanding, impatient and becomes hard to handle. Unbelievable to witness such a negative affect this has on a young child. But society is enforcing our lives to depend on the internet and computers, phones anything to keep us distracted. I’ve had to disable the YouTube on my cellular phone to help us both.

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