Digital Nation: Is Computer Use Depressing Our Children?

By: Thomas Fox

Despite their optimistic name, positive ions do not make people feel good. In fact, scientific studies have found that positive ions are linked with depression. If children are spending most of their waking hours in front of television and computer monitors, which inundate them with positive ion emissions, what will the long-term effect of positive ion exposure be on our kids?

Anxiety, depression, stress and fatigue have all been linked to positive ion exposure. Links have also been found between positive ions and various inflammatory diseases. Almost all toxins found in the air that surround us, like pollen, chemicals, pet dander, dust, viruses and bacteria, are all positively charged particles (Barry, 1995).

One of the biggest culprits of positive ion pollution is found in virtually every home and office, the computer monitor. Televisions are also high on the list of positive ion emitters. Computers have long been associated with eye strain, carpal tunnel tendonitis and migraines, but recent evidence shows that the effects of frequent computer use also is linked with something more subtle - clinical depression.

The basic fact of ions is that negative ions are attracted to the screen and positive ions are attracted to the user. This is one explanation of the disorders associated with computer and television use. Unfortunately, both the school house and the workplace are increasingly reliant on computers as a way of life.

It's common sense that depression lowers job performance and productivity. Since children today have no recollection of life without computers, what does this say about their psychological well-being? Are our children being bombarded with positive ions that will bring them long-term clinical depression?

Children today are almost always either watching television, playing video games, or on the computer. What does the connection between monitors and televisions, positive ions and depression mean for their future? The answer is still unclear. But, if the average American child is spending six and a half hours a day, seven days a week, using electronic media (Edwards, 2005), it is certainly worthwhile to consider the connection between technology and depression.

One solution that many schools and business have been investigating is negative ion technology. Negative ions occur naturally in waterfalls and after storms. This is why the air becomes pure and refreshing near a waterfall or in the moments after a storm. Negative ions have been shown to help overcome depression in a variety of studies.

A purification system introduces negative ions into the air. These ions fill the room, causing more oxygen to flow to the brain. With more oxygen comes better moods and increased productivity. A classroom filled with negative ions is a productive one. Negative ions have been shown to positively affect classroom performance in both learning disabled and normal-achieving students (Morton, 1989).

Studies have yet to determine the long-term benefits of negative ions. But in a world saturated with computer monitors and televisions, a blast of them can surely lift your mood when you need it the most. Let's hope that they can help our children.

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