Are you unintentionally giving your kids (digital) heroin?Just a little won't hurt. Right? No, right?
Kids just playing a bit of innocent games on their screens? Could it be just like you saying you’re just doing a little bit of heroin?
But it’s OK, we’re in control. Or at least, we’re in control of our kids at least. Well, usually. I can check their browsing history! I just needed to get dinner ready. Isn’t their game educational? Don’t they have to build things?
How much do we know about what our kids are doing online? Do we have a plan? A daily allowance? Or is it spiraling out of control?
If you’re a high-tech parent, are your kids low tech? Hmm, really now? Interesting.
We full-grown, mature adults can handle a little screen time, right? We’re not so addicted to our screens that we don’t notice a little … Beep! Wait, was that a text? Oops, sorry about that.
OK, so maybe we’re not quite perfect role models.
There’s a reason that the most tech-cautious parents are tech designers and engineers. Steve Jobs was a notoriously low-tech parent. Silicon Valley tech executives and engineers enroll their kids in no-tech Waldorf Schools. — Dr. Kardaras
In his article, It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies, by Dr. Nicholas Kardaras for the NY Post, he likens kids and their devices and screens to drug addiction. Not convinced? Have you tried to wrestle away the screen from your child’s grasp lately? Even if you have a firm schedule of screen-friendly hours, are they panting and perspiring until the clock strikes 4 PM?
We see the aggressive temper tantrums when the devices are taken away and the wandering attention spans when children are not perpetually stimulated by their hyper-arousing devices. Worse, we see children who become bored, apathetic, uninteresting and uninterested when not plugged in. — Dr. Kardaras
Bored? Apathetic? Uninterested in anything but gaming? Nah, they’re just tired. He just doesn’t like basketball so much anymore. He’ll get into another sport. Someday. Or maybe he’s thinking of being a pro gamer. Some of them make hundreds of thousands per year.
Sure, that’s about as likely as them playing professional basketball. I’d liken the odds to around the same as getting hit by lightning. Or are they getting hit by lightning every single day? Is that electrical charge just pulsating inside of them to the point where it becomes a physical and psychological addiction? How can we slow it down? How can we bring them back into the current reality of human beings, dogs and basketball?
The ability to focus, to concentrate, to lend attention, to sense other people’s attitudes and communicate with them, to build a large vocabulary—all those abilities are harmed. — Liraz Margalit Ph.D. for Psychology Today
Dr. Kardaras recommends, just like with drugs, to Just Say No. Has he met Mr. Peer and Mrs. Pressure? “Everybody is playing that game, dad!” If we don’t let them play games, maybe they’ll have no friends!
It’s a little like Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Yeah, but guns make it a whole lot easier. Sure, your kid could be addicted to reading and playing chess, but screen addiction is just so much more fun!
But what are we doing about it? Are we powerless?
If Just Say No was way too long ago, where are we now? Can we bring our children back from zombie land? Do we really need to do the detox that Dr. Kardaras talks about? Yuck, it sounds so icky. Maybe we can just tone things down a bit. Maybe we’ll do a weekend of screen-free time. Or maybe just in the car.
Who are we kidding? Where are we heading? Do we have a plan? Do you?
WE’re not the only ones talking about screen time and kids:
- It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies. By Dr. Nicholas Kardaras for the NY Post
- What Screen Time Can Really Do to Kids’ Brains By Liraz Margalit Ph.D. for Psychology Today
- 101 Ways to Make Your Kids Smarter The “intelligence genes” are absolutely rare. By Sandra Cobain for Best for the Kids (see infographic below for the list)
- Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids-and How to Break the Trance. By Dr. Nicholas Kardaras on Amazon
- Digital Pharmakeia and Media Addiction By Bear Ian for Signs of the Rapture
- Kids turn violent as parents battle ‘digital heroin’ addiction By Dr. Nicholas Kardaras for the NY Post