- When it comes to raising kids with mobile connectivity in the home, consider that where you pay attention is where your heart is. So how much of your attention does your child receive?
Parents may want to reconsider using screen time as a pacifier for young children because of the potential to inspire a “disconnect” with your young child making it difficult to relate to you as the real deal. Consider that children are “digital natives” who engage the tap and click screen with a natural, fearless ability and impulsivity. Screens are interactive and they activate the reward systems of the brain that should first be wired for human connectivity. So when children become inconsolable as the device is removed, then you know there needs to be major adjustments in lifestyle and parenting strategy. A recent article in Yahoo parenting advises parents to be the disciplined one “even if it means waiting to watch the viral cat video.”
Parenting with a disciplined mind
- The American Association of Pediatrics recommends no screen time until two years of age. At the very least, it is important to decide that handing over the device will not be a strategy to pacify your young child so you can do chores or tend to other daily tasks and responsibilities.
- The most important thing you can do is pay attention to your child and be mindful of the temptation to let the device engage them so you don’t have to. And while it is not convenient, managing the day to support the rewarding relationship development needs of a small child is a major job requirement of parenting.
- Think of the screen as the big imitator or deceiver, and realize that there is no spiritual fulfillment gained from interacting with the screen because the screen has no heart; and the child can become dependent upon the screen, much like an addiction that literally takes the place of establishing a healthy reward system in the brain by bonding with parents and other family members.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.
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Jodie Stevens, hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show on 103.9FM The Fish offers insights and lessons learned about faith and spiritual resilience. Check out her blog, Genuine Life with Jodie Stevens, weekday mornings on the Family Morning Show.