OSAKA—In a troubling study released by the Kansai Communication Committee of Parenting in February 2021, behavioral experts found convincing evidence indicating that excessive use of cell phones, computers, and other devices greatly increases a child’s risk of becoming an influencer.
“Our research strongly suggests that children who are allowed significant screen time run a much higher chance of filming an unboxing video or urging viewers to ‘hit follow,’ or ‘smash like’ on their posts,” said head researcher Yuji Nakamura, adding that their research included MRI scans indicating that children who spend time on electronic devices often begin to develop online personas oriented towards ‘creating buzz’ for focused target markets, becoming far more likely to promote products on YouTube or Instagram.
“The effects of such behaviors are staggering. Our studies found that even an hour of screen time a day in a child aged 3-5 can quickly evolve into three sponsored blogs, a branded event series, and a consulting business by the time they’re 10. Before you know it, they’re referring to themselves as an ‘entrepreneur’ and are unable to discuss even the simplest topics without going into how it relates to digital strategy.”
Nakamura concluded the sobering presentation before a crowd of concerned parents, reminding them that—fortunately—Japan’s influencer market is still in its infancy when compared with other countries, meaning there still is hope for parents aiming to protect their children from turning into intellectually bereft, emotionally empty brand ambassadors.
In stark contrast to Nakamura’s assertions, however, is a heavily peer-edited research paper published in late 2020 by the Coca-Cola Foundation titled ‘Increased Screen Time Means Covid-Free Kids.’ Coca-Cola writes:
“As technology becomes more of a staple in everyday family Covid life, parents are making choices about how much screen time to allow their children—and asking questions about how computers, phones, and TVs might help or hinder a child’s development in times of pandemic.”
Cola then goes on to list the various benefits of screen time, including
—Sedentary, obese children significantly easier to babysit
—Provides desensitization needed to face horrors of real life
—Elimination of eye contact in human interactions leads to decrease in virus transmission
—Finite battery life an important lesson on mortality
—Digital era a perfect scapegoat for child’s all-around terrible upbringing