iPads Used to Calm Kids before Surgery

October 28, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. sedative / ˈsɛd ə tɪv / (n.) – a drug used to calm or soothe someone
Example: They gave me a sedative before the surgery.  

2. anxiety / æŋˈzaɪ ɪ ti / (n.) – distress or uneasiness caused by fear
Example: Patients usually experience anxiety before surgery.

3. distraction / dɪˈstræk ʃən / (n.) – something that diverts one’s attention
Example: Gadgets provide children with easy distraction.

4. preliminary / prɪˈlɪm əˌnɛr i / (adj.) – introductory; leading up to the main part
ExamplePreliminary results still need to be validated.

5. alternative / ɔlˈtɜr nə tɪv / (n.) – one of the things that can be chosen
Example: This method is a good alternative to the usual way of doing things.


Read the text below.
A study claims that iPads and other tablet devices are as effective as sedatives in reducing the anxiety of pre-surgery kids.

The study involved 112 kids, aged four to ten years old. Twenty minutes before receiving anesthesia, 54 kids were given a calming drug called midazolam. The remaining 58 were given iPads and were allowed to play age-appropriate games like Angry Birds and Monster Dash. Results showed that distracting children with an iPad before surgery is as effective as taking the midazolam. Both reduced the children’s anxiety levels prior to operation.

The study’s lead author explained that the distraction caused by the iPad reduced anxiety. The gadget took the children’s minds away from the medical environment and the operation that was about to happen.

Although still considered preliminary, the results prove that iPads and other tablet devices can be used to calm children before an operation without the usual side effects of medication, such as drowsiness and memory impairment.

Previously, studies have found that computers, smartphones, and tablet devices can increase depression, anxiety, and aggression in children. Scientists who are looking into addiction have likened gadgets to illegal drugs, giving them the nicknames “digital heroin” /ˈhɛr oʊ ɪn/ and electronic cocaine /koʊˈkeɪn/.

In contrast, the recent study showed that technology can be beneficial and helpful in reducing anxiety and calming children before surgery. It gives parents, doctors, and nurses affordable, approachable, and portable alternatives to drugs to soothe children.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If you were a parent with a child about to undergo surgery, would you allow him/her to use an iPad to reduce stress? Why?
·         At what age is it appropriate for children to use and own gadgets? Why?

Discussion B

·         What are the advantages of exposing children to technology?
·         How can technology be utilized to improve the development of children?

October 28, 2016