Is Your Kid Hooked on Smartphones? 


More and more my patients are becoming addicted to their devices. I am concerned that their communication and social skills may be stifled. We are who we are in a large part by what we do. Children and adults who spend hours on devices miss opportunities and to grow as individuals. 

It is best to limit exposure to the internet and social media. There’s a false narrative of what’s real. Unfortunately it is not the curators of the net to assume that responsibility.  As parents and as families it is our role to take over responsibility. 


5 Tips for Parents


Keep devices out of kids’ bedrooms.

Set up online firewalls and data cutoffs.

Create a device contract. 

Model healthy device behaviors.

Consider old-school flip phones for your kids.

Taken from:  Is Your Kid Hooked on Smartphones? 5 Tips for Parents

Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

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Cellphones – We need to control our devices, rather than letting them control us.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Director: Stanley Kubrick

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Director: Stanley Kubrick

So how do you reduce your anxiety and permit your brain to sleep effectively?

Here are some suggestions:

During the day, practice not reacting to incoming alerts or notifications like one of Pavlov’s dogs. Don’t check your phone every time it beeps. In fact, turn off notifications and check on a schedule to retrain your brain’s neurotransmitters (particularly cortisol). Start by checking every 15 minutes, and gradually increase that to 30 minutes or more. Tell your family, friends, and colleagues that you may not respond immediately, but you will within a specified amount of time, such as 30 minutes to an hour later.
Stop using all devices one hour prior to sleep.
Put all devices away in another room rather than keep them in the bedroom to discourage you from checking them during the night. (If you must keep a phone nearby in case of emergency, set it so that it only rings when certain people are calling, but still place it across the room and away from your bedside.)
An hour before bedtime, start dimming the room lights slowly to release melatonin.
During the last hour before bedtime, choose an activity that your brain will find predictable and, thus, not anxiety-provoking. Consider any of the following:
Watch a television show that you love, maybe even a repeat.
Read a paper book (or use a Kindle which doesn’t emit blue light) by a familiar author.
Listen to music that is very familiar like a playlist of your favorite songs. If you need a device to do this, burn CDs and get a CD player. (The key is to use a device that doesn’t have internet access, email, or a phone.) Keep the volume low.
If you awaken in the middle of the night, try this trick: have a song lyric in mind (not the whole song) that you plan to sing in your mind over and over to block the anxiety and allow you to fall back to sleep. Another option is to learn one of many meditation techniques and practice and use those skills to calm your mind.
Our devices are a gift that connect us to so many people and so much information, but they do not have to raise our anxiety and harm our all-important sleep. We need to control our devices, rather than letting them control us.

Relax, Turn Off Your Phone, and Go to Sleep

TV – Media and your Kids

The Addams Family premiered September 14, 1964

The Addams Family premiered September 14, 1964

Healthy Use of TV
Safe use tips include:

Set time limits
It is easy to watch TV for hours at a time. If you think there are other ways your children could better spend their time, give them a screen time “allowance” – it will lead them to make thoughtful choices about what they want to watch during their available time. Alternately, allow them to watch their favorite programs, but not to aimlessly channel-surf.

Do your homework.

Remember, the content of what your kids watch is just as important as the amount of time they spend watching. Learn more about the story, actions, and characters in a show before you allow your children to watch it.

Keep TVs out of your children’s bedrooms

Studies have shown that children with TVs in their bedroom tend to eat more unhealthy food and exercise less, and may have a direct risk of being overweight. Additionally, as youth watch video content on other platforms such as computers, tablets and mobile devices, they still are at risk; studies have shown that children with electronic media in their bedrooms are more likely to be overweight and have sleep problems.

Watch TV and movies with your children.

Watching TV with your children offers a chance to share ideas and talk with them about content. Educational television programs may be beneficial to children, but be aware that many have not been researched to verify these claims. If your children watch educational television make sure programs are developmentally appropriate and that they do not involve violence. You may also want to watch the show with your kids to see how much they are learning and help reinforce the lessons.

Use media ratings to help make decisions.

Movies and television shows are rated according to age and often have descriptions of content as well. Use the rating systems as a guide when you make decisions about what your children are allowed to watch.

Be a media role model.
Use the kinds and amounts of media you’d want your children to use and they will follow your example.

Encourage social and extracurricular activities.
The amount of time that children use media is often determined by the amount of down time that they have at their home. If you think your child is spending too much time watching TV, find other fun activities for them to do.

 

The Center on Media and Child Health (CMCH) at Boston Children’s Hospital