- is there something physiologically damaging about the screen itself? -- does it hurt your eyes, brain, fingers, etc. This issue is clarified when you think about eReaders -- there's no content difference between reading a book in print versus on a Kindle, so it's just a question of whether the technology is physiologically problematic. I don't really know the answer to this one, and I'm not sure whether studies have come to any definite answers. I mean, there are some obvious carpal tunnel, etc. issues with typing a lot, etc. But my general level of tech use doesn't cause any noticeable physiological damage. There may be stuff going on I'm not aware of, though, and as a parent in particular, that's worrying. (Of course, when you tell a kid to go outside and climb a tree, they may also fall out of it and break a limb.)
- is there something psychologically damaging about electronics versus other entertainment? -- clearly, there can be, witness the couple who were so caught up in Warcraft that their baby died. Now, one could argue that folks like that were probably not the most attentive parents regardless. But I can certainly testify to having spent hours upon hours totally engrossed in a computer game, to the point of aches and pains. And again, while you could get that same experience playing a game in real life (how many people injure themselves doing sports?), it seems less directly addictive.
All that said, I'm generally in favor of relaxation and entertainment -- life is stressful, and sometimes you need to decompress, maybe by blowing shit up, or sinking into the drama of your favorite soap opera. And my house would be MUCH dirtier if I didn't have TV to keep me company while I did chores. I have no firm conclusions on any of this, and we're not actively restricting screen time yet, ours or our kids. But I'm keeping a wary eye on it. And I cancelled my World of Warcraft subscription a month ago. I got tired of jumping through someone else's random hoops. I'd rather read books, or write them.