Tag Archives: Technology Could Lead to Overstimulation in Kids

Children’s sensory overload from technology

3 Jun

Like it or not, technology is a part of life. The key is to use technology for YOUR advantage and to not let technology control you. Parents must monitor their children’s use of technology. Caroline Knorr has an excellent article at Common Sense Media, How Rude! Manners For the Digital Age Parents must talk with their children about the responsible use of social media and the Internet. Common Sense Media has some great discussion points in the article, Rules of the Road for Kids

Rules of the Road for Kids

1. Guard your privacy. What people know about you is up to you.

2. Protect your reputation. Self-reflect before you self-reveal. What’s funny or edgy today could cost you tomorrow.

3. Nothing is private online. Anything you say or do can be copied, pasted, and sent to gazillions of people without your permission.

4. Assume everyone is watching. There’s a huge, vast audience out there. If someone is your friend’s friend, they can see everything.

5. Apply the Golden Rule. If you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to someone else.

6. Choose wisely. Not all content is appropriate. You know what we mean.

7. Don’t hide. Using anonymity to cloak your actions doesn’t turn you into a trustworthy, responsible human being.

8. Think about what you see. Just because it’s online doesn’t make it true.

9. Be smart, be safe. Not everyone is who they say they are. But you know that.

A timely discussion now may save a lot of heartache for you and your family later.

Rebecca Greenfield has a great post at the Atlantic Wire which summarizes a sampling of other articles about Facebook’s effect on children. In What Facebook Does to Kids’ Brains

Andrew Stevensen writes in the Sydney Morning Herald article, The screens that are stealing childhood:

Australians have smartphones and tablet computers gripped in their sweaty embrace, adopting the new internet-enabled technology as the standard operating platform for their lives, at work, home and play.

But it is not only adults who are on the iWay to permanent connection. As parents readily testify, many children don’t just use the devices, they are consumed by them.

”These devices have an almost obsessive pull towards them,” says Larry Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University and author of iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming its Hold on Us.

”How can you expect the world to compete with something like an iPad3 with a high-definition screen, clear video and lots of interactivity? How can anything compete with that? There’s certainly no toy that can.

”Even old people like me can’t stop themselves from tapping their pocket to make sure their iPhone is there. Imagine a teenager, even a pre-teen, who’s grown up with these devices attached at the hip 24/7 and you end up with what I think is a problem.”

The technology has been absorbed so comprehensively that the jury on the potential impact on young people is not just out, it’s yet to be empanelled.

”The million-dollar question is whether there are risks in the transfer of real time to online time and the answer is that we just don’t know,” says Andrew Campbell, a child and adolescent psychologist….

Authoritative standards on appropriate levels of use are limited. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends parents discourage TV for children under two and limit screen time for older children to less than two hours a day.

The guidelines, says Professor Rosen, are ”ludicrous” but the need for them and constant communication with young people about technology and how they use it, remains. ”It’s no longer OK to start talking to your kids about technology when they’re in their teens. You have to start talking to them about it as soon as you hand them your iPhone or let them watch television or Skype with grandma,” he says.

He suggests a ratio of screen time to other activities of 1:5 for very young children, 1:1 for pre-teens and 5:1 for teenagers. Parents should have weekly talks with their children from the start, looking for signs of obsession, addiction and lack of attention.                                          http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/the-screens-that-are-stealing-childhood-20120528-1zffr.html

See, Technology Could Lead to Overstimulation in Kids  http://www.educationnews.org/parenting/technology-could-lead-to-overstimulation-in-kids/

Dr. Rosen wrote an interesting piece for Psychology Today, Face the Facts: We Are All Headed for an “iDisorder”

Do we need to take a permanent holiday from our technology or is there an iCure for an iDisorder? The outlook is very positive if we recognize the signs and learn to take small steps to keep our brains healthy and sane. Here are sample strategies. More can be found in my new book, iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession With Technology and Overcoming its Hold on Us.

  • Social networking can be all about “ME” and it can make us appear narcissistic. I advocate using an “e-waiting” period between writing any post, email, text or comment and pressing the key that offers it to the world. Take a couple of minutes, do something else, and then come back and count the times you use the words “me” or “I” compared to the number of times you use the words “we,” “us,” “they” or other inclusive pronouns. One of the signs of narcissism is a focus on the self and our specialness. Sometimes it helps us break out of the me, me, me mode by focusing on other people in our lives and commenting about their posts and their photos. Remember, though, that although you may be feeling somewhat anonymous writing posts and comments behind a screen, there is a real person made of flesh and blookd at the other end and your words will have an impact on that person. Be gently and use your e-waiting period to let you reevaluate what you say in any electronic communication.
  • At the dinner table declare a “tech break” at the beginning of the meal and have everyone check their phones for a minute and then silence them and place them upside down on the table. Now talk for 15 minutes followed by someone declaring another “tech break.” The upside down silent phone is a stimulus that says, “Don’t worry – you can check me soon.” This stops the brain from obsessing about every little e-communication.
  • Using technology evokes excessive mental activity so much so that our brains are all abuzz all day long. Your brain needs periodic resetting. This doesn’t take a lot of time. Fifteen minutes of walking through nature (or even looking at a nature picture book), doing puzzles, or talking to someone about something fun and positive are just a few ways to reset your brain. Consider doing one of these activities every few hours to calm the brain and stop the potential iDisorder.

There is no turning back. We live in a connected world and we are better because of it. We know more than ever before and we are more social than ever before. But we have to learn to take care of our brains to avoid an iDisorder. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rewired-the-psychology-technology/201203/face-the-facts-we-are-all-headed-idisorder

There are warning signs that a child or adult might be addicted to technology.

Jason Dick has 15 Warning Signs That Your Child is An Internet Addict

Psychological and media experts have compiled a list of warning signs for Internet addiction:

1. The Internet is frequently used as a means of escaping from problems or relieving a depressed mood.

2. Your child often loses track of time while online.

3. Sleep is sacrificed for the opportunity to spend more time online.

4. Your child prefers to spend more time online than with friends or family.

5. He/She lies to family member and friends about the amount of time or nature of surfing being done on the Internet.

6. Your child becomes irritable if not allowed to access the Internet.

7. He/She has lost interest in activities they once found enjoyable before getting online access.

8. Your child forms new relationships with people they have met online.

9. They check their email several times per day.

10. He/She has jeopardized relationships, achievements, or educational opportunities because of the Internet.

11. Your child disobeys the time limits that have been set for Internet usage.

12. They eat in front of the computer frequently.

13. Your child develops withdrawal symptoms including: anxiety, restlessness, or trembling hands after not using the Internet for a lengthy period of time.

14.Your child is preoccupied with getting back online when away from the computer.

15. They have trouble distinguishing between the virtual world and the real world.

It is very important that parents identify Internet addiction in their children at an early age and set limits on their Internet use. My next article will provide a no nonsense contract that parents can use with their children to set limits and boundaries on Internet use.

See also, Internet Addiction in Children and Internet Addiction Linked to ADHD and Depression in Teens

Helpguide.Org has a good article on treating internet addiction in teens. Among their suggestions are:

It’s a fine line as a parent. If you severely limit a child or teen’s Internet use, they might rebel and go to excess. But you can and should model appropriate computer use, supervise computer activity and get your child help if he or she needs it. If your child or teen is showing signs of Internet addiction, there are many things that you as a parent can do to help:

  • Encourage other interests and social activities. Get your child out from behind the computer screen. Expose kids to other hobbies and activities, such as team sports, Boy or Girl Scouts, and afterschool clubs.
  • Monitor computer use and set clear limits. Make sure the computer is in a common area of the house where you can keep an eye on your child’s online activity, and limit time online, waiting until homework and chores are done. This will be most effective if you as parents follow suit. If you can’t stay offline, chances are your children won’t either.
  • Talk to your child about underlying issues. Compulsive computer use can be the sign of deeper problems. Is your child having problems fitting in? Has there been a recent major change, like a move or divorce, which is causing stress? Don’t be afraid to seek professional counseling if you are concerned about your child.

There is something to be said for Cafe Society where people actually meet face-to-face for conversation or the custom of families eating at least one meal together. Time has a good article on The Magic of the Family Meal See, also Family Dinner: The Value of Sharing Meals

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©