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What to do when your kid is addicted to technology

Did you find yourself prying your kids away from their tablets, phones or video games over this Spring Break? Are Your Kids Addicted To Technology?  If so, you’re not alone. Dr. Erin Leonard offers tips to help kids addicted to technology.

So as long as from the very beginning you ‘e encouraging them to maintain their social connections and really to get their emotional needs met through their relationship instead of constantly being stimulated through technology, that’s important. And making sure they have a good balance…spend as much time with them as possible without technology. “

Behavioral Specialists – Smart Technology Tips For Your Kids

A new study shows the average user spends as much 3.6 hours a day on their smartphones.

Others studies show: 1/3 of Americans are addicted to their Smartphones – 47 percent could not last more than one day without their phone – Average users checked their phones 150 times per day – Parents on Smartphones Ignore Their Kids.

So, if as adults we can become so obsessed with our smartphones, just think what it is doing to our children, who’s developing young minds are so prone to become attached to whatever stimulation you put in front of them.

Research has shown:

• One in three children are using tablets and phones before they can talk

• The rise in gadgets is being attributed to the rise in technology addiction

• Addiction in children can interfere with their sleeping patterns and eating

• Addiction in children can lead them to be secretive and defensive about their gadgets, as well as argue with parents more often.

• Children addicted to technology may also avoid or ignore real-life activities and refuse to go to places where their gadgets can’t be used, such as the cinema.

So what can you do to insure that your child doesn’t become addicted?

1. How to recognize that your child may be addicted to technology (or using it too much)

A. They don’t engage in activities they used to enjoy

B. Their usage disrupts healthy sleep habits

C. Their usage disrupts healthy eating habits

D. Their usage isolates them

2. How to find a healthy balance between their desire for their gadgets and a healthy amount of Disconnect time?

Empower them to take responsibility for it. (If you make the parameters, it becomes a power struggle and the gadget becomes more desirable). If they can’t do it, ask them to partner w you on good parameters, ie. No gadgets before homework and an hour before bed.

3. Ways you can help them “beat” their desire to always be plugged into their gadgets.

A. Spend more time w them before it’s too late! You are their hero- keep it that way. Don’t let a gadget take your place!!

B. Get them involved in activities w their peers- sports, girls scouts, art classes, etc. Facilitate them building interpersonal connections.

C. Get them outside. Take a walk or a hike with them. Ask them to go on a bike ride. Send them outside to play with friends.

4. How can you open a dialogue with you kids about how powerful a hold their gadgets can have over them and why this can help them understand the need for disconnect time?

Positive stimulation needs to come from their relationships. If their relationships are unsatisfying, distant, and painful, the child is going to continually look to their gadget to meet their emotional needs. You don’t want this.

About Erin Leonard L.C.S.W., Ph.D.

Dr. Leonard oversees Counseling Services at Holy Cross College and is a practicing psychotherapist with Sonego and Associates. During her time at Children’s Memorial hospital in Chicago, she received the Shaw Allied Professionals Research Award.

She has authored several books, her latest release Emotional Terrorism, Breaking The Chains of A Toxic Relationships examines the unconscious dynamic of the victimizer, the unconscious participation of the victim, and how the victim can free themselves and their children from the painful and dysfunctional cycle of a toxic relationship.

She received her Masters of Social Work at the University of Michigan and her Ph. D. with a child and adolescent specialization from the Institute for Clinical Social Work in Chicago.

If you want more information, visit her website at drerinleonard.com

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