Do Screens Affect Your Child’s Daily Life?
Most people I know don’t believe screens are addictive and research shows that most parents are only mildly concerned that their kids may be using too much technology. I’d guess this is because technology, and even excessive screen time, aren’t widely recognized as being harmful, like say drugs or alcohol. Excessive screen time is considered socially acceptable by many, if not most people. However, in college (about a million years ago) I majored in nursing and during psych clinicals my professors would say that addiction becomes a true problem when it affects your day-to-day life and the lives of those around you. It’s a good point, because I see this continually with screens. One family member is upset because everyone is staring at their phones; relationships bust up over too much tech time; and tech even gets folks in trouble at work and school. If screens are affecting every segment of your child’s life plus your kid’s interactions with others, it’s clearly not just a free time activity, it’s a problem. If you look at any basic Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Gambling Anonymous or Alcohol Anonymous pamphlet, you’ll see some parallels between drug addiction and screen addiction. For example, if you take this NA brochure (pdf) and insert “screens” or “tech” where you see the word “drugs” here’s what you end up with:
- Have you ever manipulated or lied to obtain screen time?
- Do you regularly use screens when you wake up or when you go to bed?
- Do you avoid people or places that do not approve of you using screens?
- Has your job or school performance ever suffered from the effects of your screen use?
- Have you ever lied about how much you use?
- Do you put the purchase of tech ahead of your other financial responsibilities?
- Have you ever tried to stop or control your using?
- Does using tech interfere with your sleeping or eating?
- Does the thought of running out of tech terrify you?
- Do you feel it is impossible for you to live without screens?
- Do you ever question your own sanity?
- Is your screen use making life at home unhappy?
- Have you ever thought you couldn’t fit in or have a good time without tech?
- Have you ever felt defensive, guilty, or ashamed about your using?
- Do you think a lot about tech?
- Have you ever used screens because of emotional pain or stress?
- Do you continue to use despite negative consequences?
- Do you think you might have a tech problem?