Most parents are aware of the help an iPad can provide on a long trip or waiting at a restaurant. A new study has suggested another application, though– calming kids’ nerves before surgery.
The study, conducted by Dr. Dominique Chassard, noted the traditional practice of administering sedatives to children to calm their nerves when being separated from their parents and prepped for surgery. The authors of the study wondered if there might be another, preferably un-medicated, option. With modern kids’ love for technology, screen time was the obvious proposal.
The study’s participants, children between the ages of four and ten years old receiving surgery, were randomly divided into two groups. One group received the usual sedative, and the other group of children received iPads with age-appropriate apps. When the researchers assessed the parents’ and the children’s anxiety levels in both groups, they found that the iPad time was just as effective at alleviating anxiety as the sedative.
While using iPads as a calming technique is a great everyday habit, this study indicates that technology can be a fantastic resource for stressful situations that require children’s cooperation. Medical procedures in particular are difficult because of the precision required and the need for either physical discomfort or extra medical interventions. Children’s bodies are small and sensitive, so any alternative to extra medication is healthier.
While the negative possibilities of screen time have gotten a lot of press, technology is just a tool. With creativity and self-discipline, iPads and smart phones can be a positive force in the world and in kids’ lives.
To read more about the study, click here!