On Parenting: Meghan Leahy took your questions about parenting – Washington Post
Okay…there are people who spend all of their time researching this and mapping the brain science, so I will give the quick and dirty.
TV (for the most part) is a passive event for a child. The rise of frenetic shows has become their own problem with overstimulation, etc., but still, the child is just watching the show.
This is pretty much the same with watching shows on tablets, except we do have an increased ability for the child to click around and control what they are watching, how much, etc.
Games are operating in another part of brain. The reward center of the brain is going wild, because the child has the opportunity to restart the game, begin again, choose another level, and switch games as soon as he feels challenged or bored. This ability to always be “winning” or never experience the discomfort of loss is like crack cocaine to the reward center. IT is going bonkers (the technical term) and LOVES the feeling of winning.
But as you know, it is NOT good for kids to only win, and since this it is so powerful for the brain to win win win, the child will cling to the technology. The brain does not want to let these good feelings go. Period.
TV and gaming tablets both promote inactivity and passivity, but tablets are far more seductive.