Rob: Yes, so when I interrupted you, you were talking about attachment. Now, let's take a step a little further back and talk about what attachment is and then discuss how it's transitioned from adult to peer to iTech.
M.S.: Essentially attachment is neurologically programmed and it's for protection. The child attaches to the parent and vice versa, generally it's done through voice prosody, through touch and through eye contact. And what we're seeing with what I refer to as --babies is they're not being touched as much, they're not being spoken to or sung to as much, they're not being tickled or caressed as much and they're definitely not being looked at as much, so it's compromising all of the essentially neurological passageways for attachment and part of it is, yes, giving the baby or the toddler some kind of device. But young parents are equally guilty. Many times you'll see a young parent gender-neutral here--moms and dads-- they're pushing a stroller, the stroller is facing them and they're on their iPhone or they're sitting having a coffee at a coffee shop, they're not playing with the child or interacting or looking at the child. They're on their cell phones and so essentially they're wiring the child to attach to the object as opposed to themselves.
Now my other concern is the child, at this point, is not learning to be attracted to the screen through curiosity or the motivation of curiosity. They're being essentially wired in through the emotion of rejection because their parent isn't looking at them therefore they're on the screen. I have a really good story in the book on that. It's kind of a set up that I discussed in terms of again understanding why parents are doing this on one level as a babysitter but also in terms of how the child will rewire because of that.
Rob: Let me just jump in there because I know a little bit about attachment and one of the key pieces, as you said, attachment affects the way the child's brain is wired and it affects the child for the rest of the child's life and if attachment doesn't happen in a good way, the child will end up having manifestations of attachment disorder. So I'm just kind of summarizing this so one of the key ways to think about attachment is the mother and the baby-- when the baby is very young are in touch with each other. The mom looks at the baby, the baby looks at the mom, you might think about that the baby is breast-feeding or being fed and the mom is there smiling and loving and the baby is getting that attention and looking and connecting and feeling a sense of safety and connection.
M.S.: And belonging. I think we were talking over each other but one of the key things is this sets up the nature of every future relationship, so peers and partners along the way. The other component on this is the term called Neuronal Darwinism which is essentially if these pathways in infants are not excited, they were prune themselves and this is one of the principal differences, going back to three generations and one of my main concerns when I see two-year-olds extensively on iTech is if we're older, yeah we can look ourselves up but it's not going to rewire us to the degree that a really good therapist or some really good work on our self, we won't be able to get back to a positive state when we interfere with development, I'm really concerned that we can't go back and get that wiring and I'm going to jump right into the connection with autism.
M.S.: Wonderful studies out there where in they, there's one key one and I apologize to the author, I don't have a name on the tip of my tongue but again, a positive is you can google this but essentially this group took a group of grade sixers. And half of the group just literally continued with life, they continued with all their iTech devices. They went to school, they did whatever they did normally and then the other part of the group went on a, it was only three days if I recall correctly, complete and total hiatus of all forms of iTech, meaning there are no screens whatsoever. And they compared the two groups of children afterwards and what I found was frightening, because it kind of confirmed a lot of the things that we were seeing. The children that remained on iDevices had significantly lower abilities to read facial cues. So essentially, the children that were off of iTech could read facial cues. Now I don't have to tell you what this means if you take two or three generations of individuals who have such a progressively less ability to read facial cues and this is one of the primary symptoms of autism.
Rob: Wow. I think that connection is such an important part about who we are and the Internet can help in some kinds of connections but it can, and I think, between people it can do some good things but the other side of it is as you described throughout your book is an individual who has a dysfunctional relationship with the Internet. I think that's the way to characterize the way your book approaches that's right?