New technologies that balance people's nervous systems and prevent stresses
The selective use of technology, although problematic in many ways, can be quite useful for children and teenagers to learn and practice MB skills, especially for those who have been reluctant to do so because it is perceived as another boring, non-preferred task, such as homework or household chores. Most individuals would prefer to interact with electronic media in the age of cellphones, computers, video game systems, or TV sets. This preference can be used to the advantage of healthcare providers, by becoming familiar with new “healing technologies”, that can be harnessed to provide technology-assisted relaxation training and can make the process of learning and practicing effective MB skills much more engaging, playful, and user-friendly for kids.
Many studies have focused on the potential downside of technology, suggesting that too much exposure to electronic media and/or exposure to certain types of inappropriate electronic media content, may have negative impacts on the developing child, such as contributing to a short attention span, sedentary behavior, over-arousal, aggressive behavior, depression, insomnia, and unhealthy food choices related to advertisements. However, not enough attention has been paid to the concept of utilizing these interactive electronic multimedia devices in order to engage children and teenagers in constructive, health-promoting, self-care skill development and symptom management. In this commentary, concepts such as play, therapeutic play, self-regulation, and MB skills, and their relationship to new electronic media, are reviewed. This commentary also reviews some of the most helpful software and devices currently used in the field of technology-assisted relaxation.
Other Technology-Assisted Relaxation Devices
As technology marches on, there are some additional, very promising gadgets that can assist individuals in achieving a deep relaxation response and decrease sympathetic nervous arousal, while enhancing parasympathetic nervous system activity. The available scientific literature regarding the use of these devices by children and teens is very limited, so they should be used with caution. However, these devices are generally safe and easy to use, and are available for anyone to purchase, without the prescription of a healthcare provider. Although there is still only limited research on the use of these technologies, they are worth considering and have shown promising preliminary results in adult populations.
The intention of this commentary was to provide an entertaining and informational perspective on the interface of technology, mind-body skills, and effective patient care for pediatric healthcare providers of all kinds. The reality is that computer games, interactive mobile apps, and other health-related gadgets are no longer just a trivial activity played by individuals for fun, but can now be utilized for various educational and therapeutic purposes.
BY: Khadheeja Zuyyina (ACFS-1)