My original plan was to understand the adverse effects and harm caused by the wong and improper use of digital technology on students with autism. And seeking solutions to improve the internet addiction of students with autism, thereby enhancing their well-being on the internet. To achieve ISTE standards 7b: Partner with educators, leaders, students, and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology.
However, the articles I have selected most pointed out the adverse effects and lack of well-being caused by Internet addiction. There seems to be no sufficient data justification to prove that there is a clear difference between autistic and average students. It may be caused by not enough people in the autism group at the time of the research. ( Hirota, O., McElroy, E. & So, R. 2020 ) Although studies have shown that students with autism are more sensitive to the screen time of digital technology and the EMFs (electromagnetic fields) generated, they may also affect their brain operations. (Dunckley, K., 2016) But the long screen time and EMFs not only for students with autism already know that it will cause varying degrees of harm to anyone. (Dunckley, K., 2016) It is difficult to make an assessment and analysis of whether it will bring more harm to students with autism and other special needs than ordinary students.
Based on the above information, I direct and summarized my thought on how to encourage youth both with special needs or ordinary to use digital technology and the internet healthy and balance with living to bring well-bing to their virtual and physical lives. At the same time, protect their physical and mental health. Perhaps when we think about how to draw a boundary and balance between digital technology and real-life. We usually consider how to avoid and reduce the time spent on the internet and technology. But we are less concerned about how to increase the time spent on non-technical, or develop interest and skills that are not related to surfing the internet. I think this method is passive and negative, and it may not bring many changes in improving the quality of life and well-being of online and offline time. At the same time, technology will be overly evil, leading us to overlook the advantages and help that technology has the opportunity to bring us and some students with special learning needs.
Although the cause of internet addiction is not a single problem, also different discussions in clinical psychology. ( Hirota, O., McElroy, E. & So, R. 2020 ) However, the symptoms are the following types. Criticize by friends and family for not being able to manage online time well. Screen time is getting longer and longer, losing interest in communicating with people in real life, also affecting academic performance. When the situation gets worse, insomnia and nervousness will occur, lose interest in things other than online, or even feel anxious and irritable because of not being able to conduct online activities. ( Hirota, O., McElroy, E. & So, R. 2020 )
According to Hirota’s research, These conditions can find both in students with autism and general students, and there is not much deviation in the data. ( Hirota, O., McElroy, E. & So, R. 2020 ) Even so, but Hirota’s study pointed autism some characteristics and reactions may be more obvious than those of ordinary students. It may be that this time the number of groups in the study is relatively small so that it has not achieved sufficient representativeness. ( Hirota, O., McElroy, E. & So, R. 2020 ) In Dunckley’s article, she also said from her experience, many parents of cases have found that when they think that some digital technologies, games, and software can improve the communication problems of their children with autism. It also produces serious adverse internet addiction results. (Dunckley, K., 2016) She points out that the main reason is that once digital technology is used, parents may trust these technologies, but ignore some basic training, such as face-to-face communication between parents and children. In the communication process, eye contact and other exercises mat required. (Dunckley, K., 2016) She pointed out 11 points about the harm caused by internet addiction to children with autism. At the same time, he also pointed out that these conditions can also harm normal students.
Dunckley’s 11 reasons children with autism are extra vulnerable to screen time effects and tech addiction : (Dunckley, K., 2016)
- Low melatonin and sleep disturbances
- Arousal regulation issues
- Inflammation of the nervous system
- Social and communication deficits
- Prone to anxiety
- Sensory and motor integration
- Highly attracted to screen-based technology
- Fragile attention system
- Sensitive to EMFs
- Psychiatric disorders
What’s interesting is that the solutions proposed by the authors of the two articles are not to restrain and control students’ online time and regulate their unhealthy behavior. Both Hirota suggests cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). ( Hirota, O., McElroy, E. & So, R. 2020 ) Or Dunckley’s suggest basic communication training. (Dunckley, K., 2016) There Core concept both focus on how Allow patients to improve their skills in different aspects in the real environment and their skills to achieve the effect of improving their quality of life. Therefore, I boldly estimate, to encourage and assist student’s well-being and skills both online and in real life. We should encourage and assist them in real life and physical social communication.
Encourage parents to avoid using electronic products to reduce children’s attention-seeking:
Today, whether in restaurants or many public places, I can easily see that parents easily give digital products to children to control children’s behavior or reduce the annoyance caused by children. Using a luminous screen can indeed attract the attention of children and allow them to sit down for a while. But a part of the children’s excitement in the work environment is mainly due to his interest in the surrounding environment. The electronic pacifier exploits the children’s interest in the things around him and what is happening. Moreover, the child makes a certain reaction and behavior to get the parents’ attention I believe it also means that he wants to communicate with his parents. Therefore, this method is likely to become the early culprit for children’s lack of communication skills and indulging in Internet use in the future.
As educators, we should also help and encourage some students who are not good at expressing their opinions and communication in the group. Create different opportunities for them to use different methods and platforms. To express themselves and communicate, increase the self-image and confidence of these students in the group, and believe that controlling their screen time will help them balance the online world, social media, and reality more effectively Normal social interaction in the environment.
If we can help our youth who are shy or have autism to realize the colorful life in their lives, building up their positive image and self-confidence in the group must be the most effective way to prevent them from falling into online addiction.
Hirota, O., McElroy, E. & So, R. (2020). Network analysis of internet addiction symptoms among a clinical sample of Japanese adolescents with Autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Dunckley, K., (2016).Autism and Screen Time: Special Brains, Special Risks. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mental-wealth/201612/autism-and-screen-time-special-brains-special-risks
What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?. American Psychological Association https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/cognitive-behavioral