Digital devices get kids high just like cocaine or heroin. It increases the dopamine levels, leaving them feeling hyper good. Daily doses of these devices make them dependent. They get agitated and may throw aggressive tantrums if asked to set them aside for a while. If they can’t access them for some reason, they start showing signs of withdrawal within minutes.
A recent article from the New York Post showcased a real-time addiction story of a six-year-old kid who got addicted to Minecraft. His mom thought it was a good alternative to Lego; however, the supposedly innocent game of Lego soon became his wonder drug. He couldn’t resist playing it all the time, dreamt about it and was found in a catatonic state beside a glowing iPad in the middle of the night. After four years of complete digital detox, he is now able to use electronic devices in a stable manner.
Can This Happen To Your Child?
The gruesome answer is, yes! This can happen to any child who is exposed to technology. But technology is a part of our lives, you would say, so how can kids not get exposed? The solution to this problem is to keep tech-use within safe limits. Following are different techniques that you can take up to prevent digital addiction.
Right from the Beginning
The first step is to be conscious about this issue right from the beginning. Start controlling their device exposure when they are babies. Refrain from buying them cool gadgets and smartphones before 12. Replace video games with actual games, e-reading with book reading and watching cartoons or other videos with friends or family time. Do it whenever you can and as much as you can.
Don’t Let the Boredom Get Them
When kids are bored, they seek refuge in playing games and social media. The trick is to keep them busy. Enroll them in some physical activity, dance class, swimming or whatever they like doing. This will give them a sense of purpose and they will not feel uninterested.
Incorporate screen time limits in their daily life. Have device-free dinners together. Lock the devices during bedtime and homework time. FamilyTime Limit Screen Time is the perfect tool to enforce these breaks and keep children away from devices. Check out the details on how to set screen breaks for iOS and Android.
Talk to them and make them realize the dangers of excessive screen time by giving them actual examples. Show them the news and ask them to compare their friends’ lives. Ask them to stay device-free for a while and feel the difference. Actual experiences will help them understand the depth of the problem and they would be able to take better action.
Block Addictive Apps
Be aware of the apps that have addictive properties. The news is flooded with information about such games and social networks that keep kids hooked. View their apps and if you find such apps, block them. You might face temporary anger or disagreement from your kids, but they would realize that it’s for their own good.
So unless you want your kids to end up in a digital rehab, you should prevent screen addiction right from the start. The road to prevention requires applying screen breaks and unplugging. Be screen smart and keep your kids from becoming screen junkies.