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Action Plan: Does your Child have a Technology Addiction Part III

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As a society everyone is enamored with their devices. So much that according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, they reported in 2017 that 5,984 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. Because of fatalities caused by distracted cell phone users. If you haven’t noticed when you’re out in public, most people are focused on a device, and they’re completely dis-engaged from their environment. Communication has simply evolved.

So, what should you be looking for in your child if you think they might be addicted or have an unhealthy dependency towards technology:

  1. Absence of Interest in other activities: The desire and demand for screen time supersedes everything else
  2. Consistent distraction by technology: The absence of focus when in the company of technology
  3. Questionable behavior when unable to access digital devices: Excessive tantrums, violent tendencies, and verbal thrashing because they’re unable to access a device  
  4. Constant talking about screen time: Nothing else around them or in their lives has their attention, only technology
  5. Withdrawal symptoms: restlessness, mood swings, depression or being disengaged and irritable

If you notice any or all these symptoms in your kid, then it’s time to consider serious changes in their everyday lifestyles. Especially in kids with hyperactive tendencies such as ADD or ADHD. Having an unhealthy dependency to screen time may be contributing negatively towards their mood and behaviors at home and at school, more so than a child who doesn’t have these tendencies.

Immediate Action Plan

  • Identify how much time being spent on devices daily. Then establish a plan of action for moving forward. Set expectations and be clear and open with your children
    • Set daily allotments for technology use
    • Have open-ended conversations with your children
    • Find healthy alternatives
  • If you feel that your child’s dependency is severe then consider an Electronic Fast . This fast is to allow the nervous system to reset. If this is done correctly, it will produce deeper sleep patterns, better focus, more even and brighter moods and increased physical activity. Studies have seen kids with Hyperactive Disorders be able to stop taking their medications and respond more evenly to their therapy without the excessive consumption of screen time

Ongoing Action Plan

  • Over the next several weeks, as your family gets used to decreased screen time, there will be more time for family engagement. If you are amid an Electronic Fast you will need to fill the gaps in time with planned activities to be healthy distractions and/or family bonding opportunities.
  • Every child is different, so duration will vary per child.
  • If you see your child(ren) has refocused and become engaged in healthier routines without devices then visit the tool developed by healthychildren.org to build a Family Media Plan. This plan is built around your family’s dynamics to guide you through healthy device use and time
  • It’s important for parents to consider themselves part of the movement because children follow our examples. Besides, this time could be helpful and healthy for us adults too

Check-out Part 1  and Part 2 of this 3-part series for additional information on “The Effects of  Technology on Children.”

Nicole is a thirty-something mother to four amazing children. They are third generation Colorado Natives, and proud of it. Her life revolves around raising strong, self-confident children. Their family is deep in Colorado adventures and they love sharing their experiences with anyone who will listen. She authors a parenting lifestyle blog at Keepcalmitslife.org, where she focuses on empowering mothers to not be perfect, but simply parent through learning and love. 

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