Before getting treatment for screen addiction ask yourself if there isn’t a better answer.
IF you’re worried about either yourself or your kids time on the computer or TV, use the three techniques below. They’re better than any treatment for screen addiction.
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 in next to no time.
What got all those parents fired up is the fact that screen addiction is a very real and very common problem among children and teens.
Screen addiction and computer game addiction in China has taken an alarming turn and is highly relevant to American parents whose children spend hours of time focusing on a screen. And it’s left parents desperate for an effective treatment for screen addiction.
In China screen addiction is considered a clinical disorder. There are many rehabilitation centers around China that are dedicate to helping children and teens overcome screen addiction. Their draconian therapy sees the patients completely isolated from all media.
Here at home screen addiction is not considered a clinical disorder. But it’s still a serious problem. It starts early in a child’s life, with many preverbal toddlers playing with their parents’ phones and tablets.
In 2013 he American Academy of Pediatrics published a statement on “Children, Adolescents, and the Media,” in which they state, “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 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 on the mind
“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
- 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 too.
Here are 3 Practical and healthy types of treatment for screen addiction in kids.
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.
- 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. Interaxctive screen time 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.
- Understand the benefits of limited screen time: Cutting down screen time leads to many amazing benefits. They include: better blood flow to the brain’s frontal lobe, reduction in disruptive behaviours, better moods, and more compliance
Don’t want to cut down? 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.
How to Clear Your Mind and Devices 1: Organisation
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.
How to Clear Your Mind and Devices 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.
How to Clear Your Mind and Devices 3: 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.
How to Clear Your Mind and Devices 4: Internet
We’re spending more and more time on the internet. That, in itself, is a bad thing. The constant flow of stimulation that is the internet is only going to clutter your mind. Some websites, however, are worse than others. Twitter and Facebook, for instance, are extremely unhealthy. The constant flow of information, the sheer amount of different faces; it all equates to mental clutter. That’s why Facebook has been proven to cause depression. Limit your use of these sites, and of other sites that are over stimulating.
How to Clear Your Mind and Devices 5: Choose Wisely
Choose your websites, your apps and your software carefully. 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.
These are simple and healthy treatments for screen addiction and they will work. They are a lot better than traditional treatment for screen addiction.
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