The Special Dangers of Technology Use for Children Who’ve Experienced Trauma: New CAFO Study

The explosive growth of technology brings potential for both great good and great harm for children.  All the more so for kids who’ve experienced trauma and loss.

You’re invited to be a part of a first-of-its-kind CAFO study examining the hazards of tech-based dangers for children from hard places.  You’ll also be able to learn from and apply the results of this and other studies at the “Vulnerable Children in a Digital Age” Symposium, immediately prior to the CAFO2019 Summit in Louisville.  More below…

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When it comes to the long-term impact of technology and screen use, there’s a lot we don’t know.  We’re like kids who’ve discovered a glowing box labeled “radioactive” on the playground – it’s fun to play with, but we have little idea how it might affect us over time.

Still, month after month, new studies are revealing that children’s technology use carries major consequences.   Researchers find increased use of screens connects to everything from increased anxiety and depression to diminished capacity to concentrate and remember to inability to read the emotions of another human.

Study after study suggests that children’s technology use carries major consequences

Some of this has to do with the content kids experience on screens – from searing images of violence and pornography, to the insecurity and unkindness rampant on social media.

But just as important is the medium itself.  Regular use of screens – particularly when they include high stimulation, distraction and/or multi-tasking – steadily rewires our brains.  Over time, these changes to our neural pathways shift the way we think…and ultimately, form our capacities and character.

Little wonder that many of those who most understand technology – Silicon Valley programmers and executives – are increasingly guarding their children from the very devices they created.

All this is especially concerning when it comes to kids who’ve faced trauma and loss.  As any parent or professional who cares for these precious children will tell you, their kids are often slow to develop the filters that help guard from danger and process difficult messages in healthy ways.

Comprehensive studies aren’t yet available.  But we have good reason to anticipate that tech-based hazards may be significantly amplified for children from hard places.

Tech-based hazards may be significantly amplified for children from hard places.

If that’s correct, adoptive and foster parents and leaders serving vulnerable children worldwide have every reason to be especially thoughtful about technology – and how to receive its gifts while guarding against its harms.

This will be the focus of the 2019 OVC Research and Best Practice Symposium, “Vulnerable Children in a Digital Age,” on May 9 just before the CAFO2019 Summit.

At the Symposium, we’ll hear from leading researchers and other experts on what we’re seeing in early studies…and what we’ll likely see more of over years ahead.  Most of all, we’ll explore what we can do now to protect and nurture the health of our children’s hearts and minds…including those who’ve experienced trauma and loss.

You can be a part of this, too – not only as an attendee at the Symposium, but also by taking a short survey for a first-of-its-kind study being conducted by the Christian Alliance for Orphans.  Your responses, of course, will be entirely confidential and anonymous.  Together, they will help researchers better understand connections between early childhood trauma and technology use.

You can take the survey now HERE.  The research team is aiming for at least 50 more participants by February 15.  The more data we collect, the more revealing and significant the results…and the more helpful to guide how we all can better nurture and protect the children we love.

We’d greatly appreciate your participating in the study.  And, we’d love for you to join fellow parents, researchers, child welfare professionals and child-serving organization leaders at the “Vulnerable Children in a Digital Age” Research Symposium on May 8.