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The signs of screen addiction every parent should know - and how to address them with your child.

Are you concerned about your child's screen time? Many parents find themselves in this position today, especially with the increased use of digital devices for both learning and leisure. It's important to address the issue of screen addiction with your child in a supportive and understanding manner, rather than feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to help.

First and foremost, it's important to approach the topic with empathy and open communication. Choose a time when your child is relaxed and not deeply engrossed in a screen activity. Begin the conversation by expressing your concern for their well-being and explaining why you feel it's important to discuss screen addiction. Let them know that you're here to support them, rather than to criticize or shame them.

When discussing the topic of screen addiction, it's crucial to present it as a potential challenge that many people face, rather than singling out your child. Explain the signs and symptoms of screen addiction, such as irritability when not using screens, neglecting responsibilities, and decreasing interest in other activities. By presenting this information in a non-judgmental manner, you can help your child understand that screen addiction is a common issue that requires attention and support.

Additionally, it's essential to set clear and reasonable boundaries regarding screen time. Be open to negotiating these boundaries with your child, allowing them to have input in creating guidelines that work for both of you. By involving them in this process, they are more likely to feel empowered and motivated to adhere to the agreed-upon limits.

Finally, don't forget to lead by example. Children often model their behavior after their parents, so it's important to demonstrate healthy screen habits yourself. Encourage family activities that don't involve screens and make an effort to prioritize face-to-face interactions.

Remember, addressing screen addiction with your child is a process that requires patience and understanding. By approaching the topic with empathy, open communication, and collaborative problem-solving, you can support your child in developing a healthy relationship with technology.
 

 

Author
Dr. Muhammad Zeshan Headshot Dr. Muhammad Zeshan My name is Muhammad Zeshan, MD, and I am a Harvard trained infant, child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist at Inside Out, a private practice based in Princeton, New Jersey. I am currently working as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School-Newark, New Jersey. Through Inside Out CURE, my focus is to help individuals become more Compassionate, Understanding, and aware of their inner strength and vulnerabilities, while developing Resilience and Empathy. I offer a variety of mental health care services to all age groups (infancy through adulthood) by applying principals of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, positive psychology, family therapy, parent-child intervention therapy, pharmacology, and neuroscience.

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