Tuesday, July 16

Uh-Oh: Screentime Has Similar Effects as Sedatives in Children…

According to the American Psychological Association, parents are some of the most stressed out people on the planet (that’s especially true for single parents).

On top of everything else moms and dads have to stress about in 2017, many parents worry about the amount of screen time their kids have. It’s no wonder that a study from the Institute of Education at Plymouth University found that virtually all (98%) of parents said camping makes their kids appreciate nature more, and 95% said their kids were happier when they were camping — away from the siren call of screens.

But are those screens necessarily bad?

A new study indicates that, yes, screen time might actually have some pretty negative side effects. The study, conducted by Dr. Dominique Chassard and staff at the Hôpital Mère-Enfant in Lyon, France, concluded that iPads distract kids from upcoming surgery just as easily as conventional sedatives. Put another way, devices like tablets and smartphones affect kids to the same degree that powerful sedatives do before surgery. However, as alarming as that might sound, the effects actually aren’t all bad.

One group of kids was given a sedative called midazolam 20 minutes before anesthesia, and the other group was allowed to play games on an iPad for 20 minutes.

The levels of anxiety among patients were evaluated by independent psychologists before and after the surgery. The levels of anxiety among kids and their parents were similar in both groups, but parents and nurses said that they were happier with the anesthesia procedure when the kids were given iPads. Does this mean that the kids were even calmer than they were with the sedative?

Dr Chassard concluded:

“Our study showed that child and parental anxiety before anaesthesia are equally blunted by midazolam or use of the iPad. However, the quality of induction of anaesthesia, as well as parental satisfaction, were judged better in the iPad group. Use of iPads or other tablet devices is a non-pharmacologic tool which can reduce perioperative stress without any sedative effect in paediatric ambulatory surgery.”

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