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Technology Addiction and the Coming Zombie Apocalypse

Parenting has always been challenging, but these days, one of the hardest parts of parenting involves navigating around ever-changing gadgets and technology. Whether dealing with phones, tablets, computers, social media, or video games, parents may need help managing this new electronic environment. Like brushing their teeth and eating their vegetables, kids need to know why healthy media habits are important. I encourage you to start having those tough talks now. 

I encourage parents to set aside cell phones during school hours, to limit distractions and promote active learning. Simple boundaries are always the easiest to implement. I suggest simple rules like "No phones in bedroom, bathroom, schooltime, and mealtime."

Every once in a while, I'll run across a parent that says "My child is struggling with a gaming addiction" or other tech-related addiction. Often, these parents will say, "She's very bright, but cannot apply herself because of this issue" or "his behavior has changed so much since he's been using excessive tech." Technology addiction is real.

For parents, it often boils down to a heartfelt, heart-breaking, "HELP!"

Technology addiction and overuse is an issue that I'm so passionate about! It's a huge problem, and there are no easy answers. In serious cases, counseling and outpatient rehab facilities may be required, so it's not something to take lightly.

It does feel like a zombie apocalypse is coming, doesn't it? When you watch those kids stumbling forward, holding their phone, that's what I think of: zombies. I have a grouping of articles and a 6 hour class that I can provide at no charge. I recognize, however, that there are simply no easy answers.

Technologic: Critical Technology Boundaries for Children and Teens
Article: TechnoLogic: Setting Logical Boundaries on Technology with Your Teen
Article: Balanced Technology in Home Education
6 Hour Free Video series: Critical Technology Boundaries for Children and Teens with handouts, and audio downloads, so you can listen in the car

For more information, I've written a book on the topic, which includes expert interviews from parents, counselors, and homeschool families on the front lines of technology addictions. Misuse of technology is a real and present danger that can lead to a zombie apocalypse in your home. This eye-opening book offers hope for parents battling the technology monster. Learn how to deal with the harsh reality of technology, and technology addiction, in your home and how to set technology boundaries for healthy and happy children and teens.

Sometimes the problem is very severe, and a class or book will only expose the problem and not provide enough of a solution. You see, the problem can be more severe than you can imagine, because technology is as addictive as crack cocaine. You can find more information from a nature-based treatment center. It has marvelous resources and information: Net Addiction Recovery. Or, if you feel that it's time to take serious steps, there is an online counselor and parent coach you can talk to. Here is her contact information.

Kim McDaniel, M.A. Online Counselor
www.kimmcdanielcoaching.com
Thrive Professional Coaching: expert parent coaching in the comfort of your own home
*Gaming Addiction*School Refusal*Social Anxiety*Communication Problems*Life Transitions*
Contact: (425) 208-1385 or thriveprofessionalcoaching@gmail.com

7 Reasons to be Careful with Teens and Technology 

Productivity

What could we be doing instead of video games or endlessly scrolling on social media? What are we missing out on? This video highlights some of the wonders you could be missing out on. Our lives are so important and yet so, so fleeting. Put Your Phone Down for One Hour. This video gives several alternatives to screen time. Put phones down and see what will be picked up instead. Games, baking, exercise... so many options! I love the look of this unplug box that can be used during tech-free times. This week, how will you disconnect from the internet to connect with what's around you?

Pornography

In her article, Pornography: The Public Health Crisis of the Digital Age, author Mitzi Perdue writes, "pornography isn't just bad, or even terrible. It's a major public health crisis that undermines the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and the culture as a whole." Learn more about how to protect your child from the modern age pandemic in the above article. This is no small issue. Take steps today to prevent exposure and protect your children. 

Normal Growth and Development

"iPad Kids" and the Future of Early Childhood Development. This article by Makenna Leiby describes how "iPad kids" are being brought up. Leiby writes, "Since young children are spending more time on their iPads than with parents, siblings or friends, they are showing a lack of emotional and social awareness. Around 70% of current parents admit to their child's technology usage leading to a decrease in social skills and ability to form healthy relationships." Though this article focuses on the impacts of iPads and technology on small children, she also mentions that teens and adults with a technology addiction will struggle with self-identity, depression, and obesity. The article highlights the importance of being intentional with the foundation you set for your child, and the negative impacts of permissive parenting. According to the article What Does Too Much Screen Time Do to Children's Brains? Dr. Jennifer Cross states, "children who spent more than two hours a day on screen-time activities scored lower on language and thinking tests, and some children with more than seven hours a day of screen time experienced thinning of the brain's cortex, the area of the brain related to critical thinking and reasoning." She further outlines her suggested daily limits for screen time per age and some proven tips to help limit screen time both for children and parents. 

Interrupted Relationships

Parents' Technology Addictions Lead to Behavioral Problems in Kids. Unfortunately, studies show that your child's internet addiction could stem from your own internet addiction. Author Vikki Ortiz quotes Brandon McDaniel, a family and consumer sciences assistant professor in the following: "Parents who reported problematic or addictive use of technology — checking phones often, feeling lost without them or turning to cellphones when they are lonely — also reported that their relationships with their children were being interrupted. The interruptions led to kids acting out, turning inward with feelings, or exhibiting aggressive behavior or crying spells." We are to be leaders and examples to our children, but devices are intentionally designed to distract us. Remember to give yourself grace and practice mindfulness. How will you model disconnection from technology this week?

Sensory Input

Blue Light, a Danger to your Children's Eyes This article describes how blue light can strain and damage our children's eyes with prolonged exposure. Astigmatic, myopic, and hyperopic conditions, as well as headaches, visual fatigue, and sleep disorders are all credited to blue light. What's the solution? Limited screen time and blue light blocking glasses. It is not only eye development at risk however. Speech development also suffers when too much technology is involved. Electronic Toys Impeded Language Development in Children by Katherine Martinko, quotes, "When children played with electronic toys, they made fewer sounds than when they played with traditional toys, such as books, wooden blocks, and age-appropriate puzzles. When parents played along with their kids, they, too, spoke much less. It was as if they "let the toys do the talking for them." There were fewer turns in the conversation, fewer parental responses, and fewer content-specific words." Children need face-to-face time to develop language. Electronic toys are not evil by any means, and can provide a welcome break to parents, but it is important to use them only as a supplement to learning. 

Distracted Driving

Teen Driver was Texting, Snapchatting, and on Facebook Prior to Rollover Crash Eek! It's so scary to think that there are drivers out there that are so reckless! We can't control other drivers, but we can help prevent our own teens from being distracted. Have a chat with your new driver and make sure they understand the consequences of reckless, distracted driving. Not just a possible loss of privileges, but also loss of life! There are far too many examples where the distracted driver received (or caused!) more than just minor injuries like the teen above. This video is a devastating reminder that our lives are fragile and precious. Video Selfie Cause Fatal Thurston County Crash. Eyes on the road, Bucko. That text will still be there when you get where you are going. 

Child Safety

What's Kik, the app tied to recent child porn arrests? Yes, you read that correctly. This "innocent" chatting app made a deep dive into child pornography. Investigations into the issue lead to over 10 arrests including some police officers. According to author Jacob Newton, the app had no real policy against the obscene things being done, and no real way to track it or send it to authorities. There have been many similar sites and apps that allow chatting with strangers. In almost every case, minors have been directly impacted by inappropriate images and content. If your child is chatting online, be sure you know who is on the other end. 

Screen addiction is a real, and very prominent issue for the Digital Age. How can we combat technology addiction with our children and for ourselves? Check out this article: 9 Tips to Help Your Child Unplug from Screens. Health Partners have some fantastic tips and alternatives to screen time. Be creative in your solutions. Allow boredom to spark creativity, both for your child and for you! As we work to break detrimental habits, remember to be gentle and give grace all around. You've got this, parents!
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Saturday, 01 October 2022

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