Tip 204. This is your kid’s brain. This is your kid’s brain on digital heroin.

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Did you know that smartphones, iPads and Xboxes are a form of a digital drug?

Many parents feel they are giving their kids a boost by giving them a digital device at an early age. They may be giving them a boost…but perhaps towards addiction.

Researchers have found that digital devices affect the brain’s Frontal Cortex the same way that cocaine does. They also cause a rise in dopamine levels which are related to the development of addictions.

Would you feel comfortable watching your child do drugs?

“8 to 10 year-olds spend 8 hours a day with various digital media while teenagers spend 11 hours in front of screens. One in three kids are using tablets or smartphones before they can talk.”

American Academy of Pediatrics

“18 percent of college-age internet users in the US suffer from tech addiction.”

“Internet Addiction” by Dr. Kimberly Young

For proper development, kids need to interact with others (how about outdoors) and engage in real time, not fantasy, relationships (Video games, Facebook, Instagram) Digital devices prevent this.

What you can do:

• Be aware of what could happen. Realize the potential danger especially if there is addiction (any kind) in your family tree. If so, everyone in your family is genetically disposed to addiction. The odds are against your kids if there is. Don’t help the odds.

• Limit their time on all devices. Set a specific time limit. This is a great opportunity to teach your kids about boundaries. (You know about boundaries. The kind you set for yourself on the number of pieces of Pumpkin pie you can eat at a time.)

• Find out how much time they are “connected” at school. The more time they engage in an addictive behavior, the greater chance they will have of becoming addicted. It’s a progressive disease. It gets worse as they get older.

• Spend quality non-technology time with them. Read a book with them. Throw a ball. Anything. These will be some of your best memories.

• Technology free dinner table. Nothing that beeps, dings, chirps, buzzes or maybe even whizzes, can come remotely close to the dinner table. How about out of ear shot?

• Age appropriate technology. If you are going to give your child a tablet, wait until he or she is 10-12 years old. A child 5 years old is not precociously cute when they are using a cell phone.

Wouldn’t you rather keep your retirement money than having to spend it on a rehab facility for your child?

You still have an opportunity to help your kids. Help them.

© Greg Vetter 2020. All rights reserved