Parents and child behaviorists have a new challenge. Call it, "technology withdrawal". Recognizing the vast uptake in time spent with digital devices during the pandemic, studies are now underway regarding the effect this has had on children.
Children have become increasingly dependent on phones and tablets for education as well as social connection and entertainment. "Monitoring company Bark, which parents and schools use to track over 5 million kids’Internet usage, found a 144 percent increase in the number of messages children sent and received online in 2020 compared with the year prior. That includes messages on social media sites, email, and more."
Is screen time a worldwide addition? "Experts on screen time have been stepping back from terms like “addiction”and from framing it as another moral panic, the kind that seems to accompany any new technology that affects children. The shift comes at a time when allowing more screen time isn’t a choice, but a necessity for families."
Exodus 20:3 says, "You shall have no other gods before me". Should the Christian family be aware of the "technology god" taking over their family time? In an article in Christian Post, Leah Klett writes, “A smartphone absorbs our interest because it is so alluring. It can do so many things. And in a sense it is asking us to do so many things with it,” Begin acknowledging that you have received "all kinds of good things you did not provide" (Exodus 6:11) and "be careful that you do not forget the Lord..."(Exodus 6:12)
Where do we go from here? Life is getting back to normal or, at least, a new normal. Will screen time take a back seat? Are children ready to get back to the ball fields and the playdates? Is there “screen withdrawal?”
Child behavioral scientist, Dr. Jennifer Cross states, "As adults, we understand some of the
drawbacks(of using cell phones) and make a conscious decision to put the phone down, but for 2- or 3-year-olds, who don’t have any understanding of these concerns, if they have been exposed to the phone/tablet since infancy, it becomes their norm and they want to do more of it."She also reminds parents that a phone or tablet is portable making them harder to leave at home compared to a television or computer.
Technology withdrawal will be a process and we don't yet know if usage of technology will ever
decrease. Joshua Becker in "Becoming Minimalists" suggests some help for parents. His suggestions begin with parents setting an example. Recognizing that behavior is modeled by parents. Don't be afraid to "be the parent". Set viewing times and cut cable or other entertainment temptations. Use the time that you gain away from the screen to fully engage in activities as a family. Go on a hike or walk the dog. Bicycle, play ball, and get out your board games. In general, be involved in your child's life. Set rules for screen time during meals and before bed. Set a family "mantra" that alerts the family that there has been too much screen time which now means the "fun family times" begin.
Stepping back and making an evaluation of where we are right now and how we want to go forward may be the key. To use a well-coined phrase "what would Jesus do"? Isn't that always the goal of the Christian?
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 https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/03/05/screen-time-one-year-kids/  ibid  https://www.christianpost.com/branded/3-ways-technology-is-hurting-the-faith-of-children-and- teens.html  What Does Too Much Screen Time Do to Kids' Brains? (nyp.org)  https://www.becomingminimalist.com/screen-time-for-kids/