Last week the fantastic journalist Jane Brody published an article on NY Times titled “Screen Addiction is Taking a Toll on Children”.
It struck a nerve with parents around the world. The article went viral and drummed up nearly 700 comments on day one.
What got all those parents fired up is the fact that screen addiction in children is s a very real and very common problem.
For Chinese kids, screen addiction and computer game addiction has gotten so bad that screen addiction is now considered a clinical disorder in China. There are many rehabilitation centers for kids with screen addiction in China that are dedicate to helping children and teens overcome screen addiction. Their draconian therapy sees the patients completely isolated from all media.
China’s reaction sent alarm bells ringing through American households. Now, Western parents are desperately seeking an effective treatment for screen addiction for kids. And adults need help too.
In this country, screen addiction in kids is still not a recognised disorder. But it is a serious problem.
It starts early in a child’s life, with many preverbal toddlers playing with their parents’ phones and tablets. And there are cases of screen addiction in people from 5 to 90. It seems this is an issue facing us all.
In 2013 the American Academy of Pediatrics published a statement on “Children, Adolescents, and the Media,”  in which they state the following:
“The average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children and teenagers spend more than 11 hours per day.”
TV still comes up tops, but computers, phones, and tablets follow closely behind.
Screen addiction is seriously detrimental to health.
Integrative Child Psychologist Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D., says:
“Addressing children’s screen-time provides more robust benefits than any other intervention. I’ve been prescribing strict several week-long “electronic fasts” for about 15 years now, and it’s often the missing link in successful treatment.” 
But if we’re honest, completely stopping screen time for an entire week is far from easy.
“Screens and parenting become a vicious cycle: bad behavior in a child prompts exhausted parents to “escape” with devices, which leads to reduced interaction and more electronic babysitting, which leads to overstimulation and more bad behavior, and so on,” says Dunckley.
Effects of screen addiction for kids, teens and adults
“A cluttered room begets a cluttered mind.”
That’s not just an ancient Chinese proverb, it’s also scientific fact.
Clutter is among the primary causes of mental disorders . A list of the side-effects of a cluttered environment include:-
- Fatigue: Clutter barrages the mind with stimuli, forcing our senses to overwork
- Clutter weakens our focus
- Impairs dopamine functioning
- Clutter makes it harder to relax
- Clutter tells our brain that our work is never done
- Clutter causes anxiety
- Clutter creates guilt and embarrassment as we believe we should be more organised
- Clutter constrains creativity and productivity
- Clutter frustrates us and causes stress
These side effects are not only caused by clutter in our room, but clutter on our computer and mobile devices to.
3 Practical and healthy treatment for screen addiction for kids and adults alike
1. Educate yourself and your kids.
The very best treatment for screen addiction is education.
The more you and your kids understand about the effects of screen time, the more motivated you’ll be to reduce those hours.
Most parents don’t actually read through the relevant studies on the matter. Once you truly grasp precisely why screen time is so important, you will definitely find yourself being more diligent of both yours and your kids screen time. You will be much more motivated to limit your kid’s screen time once you understand the dangers.
2. Understanding the difference between interactive and passive screen time
Watching TV and playing video games are not the same thing.
Psychologically speaking they’re completely different beasts.
Interactive screen time such (video games, for instance), is more stimulating, more addictive, and more likely to cause behavioural changes. Educational screen activities have just as serious an affect as watching mindless TV shows.
3. Understand the benefits of limited screen time
There are many benefits of reduecd screen time:
better blood flow to the brain’s frontal lobe
reduction in disruptive behaviours
4: Read this guide to making Facebook healthier
Don’t want to cut down n screen time? Declutter Instead
If you need to be on the internet, or you just don’t want to cut down on screen time, use these 5 tips. Clear your mind and clear your devices at the same time.
The organisation of your computer and devices should make it easy for you to access whatever you want with minimal clicks.
Your desktop, for instance, should be organised into different folders.
Mine, as a writer, is organised into Fiction / Non fiction; then Genre; then Publication and so on.
With good organisation it’s a lot easier to quickly access what you need, and a less cluttered computer means a less cluttered mind.
2: Get Rid of Crap
Crap. It’s everywhere.
“Crap” is all those unessential apps and pieces of software on your computer and phone.
The more useless junk you have on your systems, the more information your mind has to deal with.
The more information your mind has to deal with, the more stressed you feel. Ask yourself, are all those apps and software packages that you haven’t touched for years really that important? Are they just distracting you? Is the clutter causing stress? Delete all the junk.
Unfollow spammy Facebook pages. Here’s how
Delete all computer files you don’t need and clean up your PC. Here’s how
Turn off all unessential notifications on your phone. Here’s how.
3. Reduce the noise
I know tons of men who have pictures of beautiful, scantily clad women for their desktop wallpaper.
Those same men often say, “I just can’t seem to focus.”
Really?! I wonder why.
Overtly sexual images are one kind of “Noise,” an overstimulation. Other noises include very bright colours, emotional images and anything else that causes overstimulation. It’s only going to distract your mind and add to your mental clutter. Make sure your computers and devices are conducive to relaxation and focus.
5: Choose Wisely
Choose your websites, your apps and your software carefully. It’s one thing reading positive inspiring blogs. It’s another thing watching violent videos.
Try to stick to those websites, apps and software packages that are well designed with a clear layout, a layout which is easy to follow and which isn’t cluttered.
Of course, you could just choose to not use your devices very often. But most people aren’t going to do that. By sticking to these five tips you’ll achieve clutter-free devices and clutter-free minds.
Of course, another great strategy is to teach yourself and your kids to meditate. Periods of meditation give the mind a rest, undoing the damage of screen addiction. Av
These are simple and healthy treatments for screen addiction and they will work. They are a lot better than traditional treatments for screen addiction.
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