New Book 'Glow Kids' Details The Growing Issue of Childhood Screen Addiction

By Seth Ferranti 08/09/16

In Glow Kids, Dr. Nicholas Kardaras examines the detrimental effects of technology addiction on the developing brains of young children. 

New Book 'Glow Kids' Details The Growing Issue of Childhood Screen Addiction
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In his new and groundbreaking book, Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction is Hijacking out Kids—and How to Break the Trance, Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, a leading addiction expert, argues that age limits, among other things, are needed when it comes to kids and tech. He looks at how technology has seemingly affected the brains of an entire generation, and even cites research that found that excessive screen exposure can neurologically damage a young person’s brain much in the same way that a cocaine addiction can.

“We know that early screen usage is problematic,” Dr. Kardaras tells The Fix. “That’s when the developing brain is most vulnerable to adverse tech effects. Many tech and Silicon Valley engineers send their kids to non-tech Waldorf schools, where kids are tech-free until at least age 10 or 12.” Even Steve Jobs was quoted in the New York Times saying, “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” Screen addiction in adults is one thing, but when we are talking about kids, it’s a whole other matter.

Dr. Nicholas Kardaras (Photo: Luz Rojas Kardaras)

“I have 9-year-old twin boys,” Dr. Kardaras says. “We have been very, very careful with their screen exposure—no tablets, Xbox, or phones. But I've taken the time to explain why to them. They love playing baseball and reading. I tell them that those real-life activities can be diminished if they start playing Minecraft. They get it. They've seen friends become totally hooked to their devices. We do watch some television, older movies and some sports. So far that's seemed to work well.”

During his 10 years of clinical research on the subject, Dr. Kardaras discovered while working with teenagers, that they’d found a new form of escape—a new drug, so to speak, in immersive screens. For these kids, “the seductive and addictive pull of the screen has a stronger gravitational pull than real-life experiences. Many prefer the Matrix to the real world,” he tells The Fix.

Several brain-imaging studies have backed up his claims, showing gray matter shrinkage or loss of tissue volume for internet/gaming addicts. Quite simply put, kids continuously exposed to tech screens at a young age showed higher rates of substance abuse, stress, poor academics and depression. We all love our gadgets, but limiting them for youngsters makes sense.

“We have heroin addicts writing love letters to their drug,” Dr. Kardaras says. “They love the substance on an emotional level, but they are also addicted to it. So these are not mutually exclusive concepts, which I think also apply to tech: people can love their gadgets and still be addicted to them.” Especially kids.

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.