“Is there too much technology? And, are our kids really addicted?” These are the questions posed to our Guest Expert, psychologist Randy Kulman, founder of Learning Works for Kids. And sure enough, he answered them clearly, and succinctly, in about 20 minutes.
For starters, Dr. Kulman draws a distinction between being addicted and loving technology. He explains that the amount of time kids are spending on technology is pretty extraordinary – and he shares some of the data around that.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean kids are addicted – and it’s not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing.
When he explains this dilemma directly to kids, he says, “I’m one of those adults that doesn’t think that playing video games, and texting your friends, and using your screens is a bad thing at all. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I do think that what does make it problematic is when when you’re not doing other things, other things that are really important for someone’s mental health, and physical health, and social and emotional health.”
And generally, this is what parents are concerned about most.
Kulman acknowledges that parents of complex kids have a slightly greater reason to be concerned that their kids may have problems with addiction. Complex kids are susceptible to highly stimulating activities, and the tendency to over-do something is not uncommon. Parents do need to pay attention to that.
In fact, Kulman discusses some key qualities to watch out for in cases of addiction: 7 addiction warning signs.
But he reiterates that despite the slightly higher risk of addiction, not all kids who use technology excessively are addicted. And he continues, there are some really positive benefits to technology that shouldn’t be discounted. In particular, he explains how it can be helpful for some kids with anxiety or ADHD.
According to Kulman, we parents tend to be “digital immigrants” while our kids are “digital natives, ” and we need to understand that technology is part of their world in a very different way than it was for us. So our job is to help them use it well, but not to demonize it to the point that we lose the benefits it has to offer.
If you’re a parent wondering if your child is really addicted to technology, or just frustrated by the amount of time it seems to dominate their world, we strongly encourage you to tune in to this really fascinating interview with Dr. Randy Kulman. There’s so much information in this brief and impactful conversation – and thanks to technology, you can listen to it at any time that works for you!
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