Parents and other human beings have allowed electronic devices to officially take over their daily lives. Not only do you work on a computer or phone, but you socialize on one too. As a parent, you complain about the screen time your kids are racking up, that their faces are always stuck in their phones despite the world going on around them. Communication is hard enough without having to compete with a piece of technology, with efforts to curb screen time escalating into a big fight. But aren’t we setting a double standard? If you cannot put your own phone down for two minutes, then how can you hold your children accountable to something you cannot do yourself? Remember YOU are the role model they adore.
We’re depriving our kids of the same thing we crave from them… touch, feel, focus, attention! Remember the Who? Even Tommy (1969) was into gaming before the gaming we see now and he was saying the same thing: See me, hear me, touch me, heal me. Then Pink Floyd ten
years later (1979) said the same thing, “we’re just another brick in the wall,” meaning, they need eye contact and hugging just as much as we do, now more than ever! This kind of focused attention also helps reduce and manage stress for the whole family.
Kids respond and learn from the emotions on the faces of their parents’. Dr. Edward Tronick, director of UMass Boston’s Infant-Parent Mental Health Program, conducted an experiment called the Still Face Experiment, in which a mother denies her baby attention for 2 minutes. He found that with prolonged lack of attention, the child moved from good socialization, to periods of bad but repairable socialization. No matter what the child did, screaming, crying, banging things. The child could not get a reaction. This is where lifelong issues with self esteem and confidence get cemented as they learn early on: I don’t matter. My feelings are not important. I am a mistake.
The same principle applies when we’re busy looking at the screen instead of the people we’re (supposedly) conversing with.
The easiest answer to helping your kids reduce their screen time is to reduce your own. It is all about spending time with them: Playing board games, going outside, talking about current events, sharing a meal (where phones are not invited).
Start by attaching to your family, friends, children and not to computers, cell phones or the Internet. Love those people places and events that can love you back! You won’t regret it!
Dr. Kathy is well known in Jupiter Florida as the “go to expert” for her mindful approach to cognitive behavioral therapy (talk therapy). Combining evidence-based therapies from psychology, neuroscience, mental imagery, nutrition and exercise, her FUN™ program establishes mindbody balance to create immediate shifts in thinking. Dr. Kathy is also a Certified Addiction Professional, Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT), EMDR Practitioner and EMDR Consultant in Training. She is the co-author of Asthma Free in 21 Days and frequently publishes articles related to mental health.
Dr. Kathy offers EMDR consultation, supervision and mentoring services to guide practitioners through the technical aspects of EMDR, case integration, treatment plans, skill development and ongoing education.