Sivani Saravanamuttu of Project Plain Talk (PPT), is the author of the book, “The Digital Pied Piper Effect.” It is a book for anyone with an interest in children, especially the parents, parents-to-be and teachers, to address the various concerns about the use of digital technology. Internet and social media have taken the world by storm. Just as in the fairy tale “Pied Piper of Hamelin,” where the piper plays a mesmerizing tune on his flute to take the children away to a faraway land, the smartphones of today have captured the imagination of children and adults alike. The Digital Pied Piper Effect refers to the addiction to digital gadgets like cell phones and tablets, especially among the children and young millennials. The problem of gadget addiction must be addressed urgently before it becomes a full-blown health hazard, affecting mental health, cognitive abilities, learning outcomes and achievements in children. The eight chapters in the book deal with the research on non-ionizing radiation emitted by cell phones, health impacts of gadget addiction, apps and devices aimed at children, role of technology in education, cyberbullying and online abuse, distracted driving and road safety, everyday living in a digital world, and recommendations for mitigation. The digital technology is a double-edged sword. Depending on its use, it can be either destructive or constructive, rewarding or wrecking, a bane or a boon. The responsibility of guiding the children of today, more popularly known as the digital natives, to safely navigate this digital superhighway, falls on the parents, educators and mentors. The information in this book can also be used by healthcare professionals, researchers, lawmakers, technologists, and governments to implement safe policies and practices, in order to safeguard the health and development of young people.
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