The Environmental Protection Agency first warned of secondhand smoke in 1991, some 30 years after scientists determined that smoking cigarettes causes cancer. Today, a growing body of research points toward a new indirect health hazard.
By not limiting their own phone use, parents and other caregivers may be unwittingly setting kids up to be addicted to screens.
A decade ago, the unwillingness – or perhaps the inability – of the college students in my writing classes to stay off their phones for 50 minutes at a stretch catalyzed my interest in screen use. And my students have only grown more unwilling to put down their phones, a trend that has also gotten worse outside of my classroom…
While I encourage them to examine their habits, I blame students less for their tech addiction than I did a decade ago. They’ve learned this behavior from adults – in many cases since the moment they were born.
Checking Twitter in front of kids is not the same as blowing smoke in their faces. Smartphones and cigarettes do, however, have some things in common. Both are addictive and both became wildly popular before researchers learned about their addictive properties and health dangers.