Why Electronics Addiction is Dangerous
This post is the second in a series on Electronics Addiction. Click here to read Part 1
Let’s face it – Your child is at risk for electronics addiction. Most kids are either there or quickly moving in that direction.
Electronics themselves are not bad, but it’s very easy to cross the line and misuse them or be controlled by them. There are seven types of electronics use that create challenges and contribute to addiction if not managed well either by the child or by the parent.
Communication with Friends
Texting and using apps to carry on conversations with people they know and people they haven’t met personally yet.
Watching movies, shows, or apps such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Tiktok, Snapchat, or Instagram for amusement.
Posting, reading, searching, following, liking, and commenting on apps with friends and other people in groups or individuals streams.
Playing games alone or with others through apps or on the Internet.
Watching sexually explicit material and feeding sexual desires.
Looking at trends, styles, and fashion in order to increase one’s ability to be accepted by others. Focusing on things to bring about happiness.
Watching or listening to music, news, and radio.
WARNING: It can be easy to find parenting relief by allowing or encouraging electronics use in children of any age. However, children and young people not only miss out on important alternatives, but they also don’t realize that they’ve crossed significant danger lines in their lives.
What Happens in the Brain and Heart
The mind of a person is an amazing part of who they are. Thinking patterns are developed in children and youth that will affect them for years to come. Electronics use causes increased stimulation in the brain that in turn creates a constant fight or flight reaction, triggering unhealthy emotional activity. Chemical releases and depletions in the brain are intensified during electronics use, and over time more stimulation is required for the person to remain at ease.
Electronics addiction contributes to emotional imbalance. Violent video gaming increases anger. Obsession with social media increases anxiety and depression. It’s no wonder Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” With electronics overload, silence creates anxiety instead of peace. Times of boredom create a vacuum that electronics fill easily instead of the healthy stimulation that creativity provides.
The passive stimulation of electronics can lead children to gravitate toward their devices, avoiding responsibilities and delaying productivity and maturity. Social media interactions lack the relational depth of face-to-face communication increasing loneliness and the feeling of not being relationally connected. It’s also important to realize that electronics often open the pathways for worldliness to creep into the hearts of children and young people.
It’s a Family Growth Experience
Many parents who become aware of electronics addiction in their children begin to consider their own relationship with screen time. In fact, some parents are hesitant to correct their children or set limits because they feel like hypocrites themselves. God may convict you in areas where you have become imbalanced when it comes to electronics.
Again, electronics are not bad in and of themselves. A healthy use of electronics allows adults to gather necessary and helpful information for use in life. They provide easy connection to friends and family and deliver ways to collaborate with others both at work and with other tasks. But it’s important to remember that cell phones are a servant, not a master. If you find that electronics are robbing you of normal conversation with others, eye contact with your children, and uninterrupted family time then you probably want to make some changes.
The difference is that hopefully parents know when electronics have crossed the line and are affecting their time, emotions, or relationships. Children rarely have that discernment. They need parents to offer parental controls because they lack self-control. There are certainly times with parents have more privileges with electronics than children and young people do.
Let’s Get Practical
Every family is different. Every child in a home has different needs. Establishing rules or guidelines for electronics in your home is important. Your personal convictions are demonstrated by the rules you establish. Limits and guidelines on electronics help children see what’s important and what you believe about life.
Take some time and create a list the rules for your home. Here are some questions that might guide your thinking.
1) How much screen time is appropriate for your child?
2) What alternatives to electronics do you want your children to engage in? Here you might include things like chores, helping others, creativity, and handling boredom.
3) What forms of accountability will you require? These might include parental controls, permissions, and avoiding electronic use in private.
4) How will you handle electronics in your home, at night, during meal times, or in the car?
5) What apps will you allow or not allow for your child?
6) How will you handle resistance from your child to these limits?
Your answers to these questions help define your own convictions and provide teaching opportunities for your children.
This last question will lead us into our next blog post on this subject. “Parenting Skills Required to Deal With Electronics Addiction.”