HIBBING — As adults, we are attached to our cell phones. Many of us use computers daily, and we may even relax by reading on a tablet.
We are surrounded by technology, and often dependent on it. Our gidgets, gadgets and gizmos can be hard to put down, but as adults, we should know when enough is enough.
Children, however, may not know they’ve had too much screen time. Cell phones, iPads and video games are addictive to them too — just try to take it away from a child.
So what kind of impact does technology have on a child?
That’s what Tina DuSold, a speech language pathologist at Fairview Range, will talk about in the first of a series of speaker nights hosted by the Central Mesabi Medical Foundation’s (CMMF) Kids Kare Fund.
Her talk is entitled “Children and Technology: How technology impacts the way children think, focus and process information.”
“Technology is such a huge part of our world now, but many people do not understand the implications that it has on their children and their cognitive development,” said DuSold. “We are seeing a huge influx of children for therapy that are struggling with attention and are unable to play with toys in a normal manner because all they have ever been exposed to is TV and electronics. This is leading to difficulties with language, fine motor and gross motor skills.”
The talk is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, in the the taconite room at Fairview Plaza, 1200 E. 25th St. in Hibbing.
The event is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to benefit the Kids Kare Fund, which helps children across the Iron Range who are dealing with health issues by providing funds to help cover out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the child’s medical treatment.
While technology provides both educational and entertainment opportunities, research shows there is a risk with interacting with technology too early in development. This talk will focus on the research behind technology and the impact it has on children’s development, both physically and cognitively.
“This night is geared mostly toward parents, but will also have useful information for teachers and caretakers as well,” said DuSold, who is also on the Kids Kare Fund board.
One recommendation DuSold will share with attendees is that children under the age of 2 should never be exposed to electronics — including TV — as it can be detrimental to development.
“Those who attend will gain an understanding of technology and its benefits, but also to learn the benefits of limiting usage to help increase other skills that children will need later in life,” she said.
With a goal of educating families on how to lead healthier lives, starting with children, the talk fits in well with the mission of the Kids Kare Fund.
“I would hope that people would take away the fact that while technology has its benefits in our world, parents and caregivers should be mindful of electronic devices and should work to limit the child from too much time with them,” said DuSold.
Hosting the talk is a new venture for the Kids Kare Fund board.
“In addition to distributing fund to families of children experiencing health issues, we are also looking to be a resource toward directing families to other resources and funds that may be available to them,” said Erin Norenberg, Kids Kare Fund board president.
The talks will increase awareness of the fund and in turn help the board reach those who most need it.
“Also by doing these talks, we are looking to expand our awareness to parents of all children in our community — not just those experiencing health issues,” she said. “… KKF is looking for ways to bring the community together and discuss different issues that families are experiencing.”
They plan to host one or two talks per year, and are open to suggestions of topics for future talks.
“We will be able to see if these talks are successful by seeing how many people attend, as well as if it spurs any further discussions about technology in children,” said Norenberg.
If you go ...
What: Kids Kare Fund speaker night “Children and Technology: How technology impacts the way children think, focus and process information” by Tina DuSold, speech language pathologist
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6
Where: Fairview Plaza’s Taconite Room, 1200 E. 25th St. in Hibbing
Cost: Free. Donations will be accepted to benefit the Kids Kare Fund