Parenting - Technology, the New Drug

I took a step back this weekend and saw my children in a different light.  They are drug addicts!!!

  This image is taken from a great Chicago Tribune article about the adverse effects screens are having on children's eyesight, which is pretty severe.  In addition to macular degeneration associated with the blue light emitted from the screen.  

This image is taken from a great Chicago Tribune article about the adverse effects screens are having on children's eyesight, which is pretty severe.  In addition to macular degeneration associated with the blue light emitted from the screen.  

The new drug?  Technology (iPad, iPhone, Tablet, TV, etc…).

The next time your child is playing on a tablet, phone, or video game console – take it away and see what happens.  In my experience?   MAJOR melt downs with crying, yelling, screaming, more crying and then the pleading.   All over a piece of technology.  Being in the Police Academy, I’ve learned this behavior is disturbingly similar to addicts once their substance of choice has been revoked.

When I was growing up and you wanted to play, it was simple - you went outside.  My parents created a system call “Chips”.  You would do your chores and other odd jobs around the house to earn these “Chips”, which then purchased your “screen time”.  It was by far, the most effective system I have seen as of yet (now a parent myself).  I strived every week to obtain my screen time “Chips”, which I “chip-pinched” and saved for rainy days when going outside wasn’t an option. 

We, as a society and generation, have grown up with technology.  Most of us remember the development of the current technologies we have today (the first iPod, mp3 player, etc…).  Our children do not, they haven’t grown up without or in anticipation of the life-like graphics they get today.  It’s instantly at their fingertips.  As such, they’ve been robbed of imagination. The ability to create with originality, experiment – play without parameters.  As Catherine Steiner-Adair, psychologist and author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age says:

"They need time to daydream, deal with anxieties, process their thoughts and share them with parents, who can provide reassurance."

The next time a child asks to play on their technologic device, bust out the dusty Legos, a board game, a science project, or a game of hide-and-seek and present that to them instead.  You’ll be surprised how much they would rather play with you than a touch screen.

authored by Trent Crutcher