Winter in Austin has been different this year – colder, drippier, cloudier. We even had snow and ice a few times. My grandkids have spent more time indoors as a result where it’s tempting to turn to screens – especially my grandsons. I notice however that they are more content and less agitated on days they spend plenty of time playing outside where screens are not an option.
Like everyone else, my own kids are learning how to “tame the screen beast” for their young kids – to get them to see these fascinating items as tools they control rather than being controlled by the tools. They hope that if their kids learn, at a young age, to use screens temperately and wisely, they will mature into teens who do the same with their cell phones.
New research is coming out regularly that we should all be mindful of.
Last week, researchers presented a study (click here for details) at annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) that claims to have found an imbalance in the brain chemistry of young people addicted to smartphones and the internet.
Spending too much time staring at phones and screens can easily become a problem not just for kids but for adults as well. Yet serious questions as to the immediate effects on the brain and the possible long-term consequences of such habits are surfacing.
To that end, I recently came across a really good and practical resource by ministrytoparents.com regarding teens and cell phones. You can read about their Top Ten Ways to Tame the Cell Phone Beast, and obtain a free printable download at their website.
Note: If you prefer to give you kid a smart phone, rather than an older version, make sure to turn off features and turn them on over time as your teen shows responsible use.