We’re just now starting to research and see the full effects of excessive screen time. In a recent article by the Washington Post, Sanya Slavin–a mother of two–writes about whether the negative effects of screen time anxiety are more harmful than the screen time itself.
Are the negative effects of screen time anxiety worse than actual screen time?
We’re all familiar with “forbidden fruit” effect with children. You tell them not to climb that tree, they climb that tree. You tell them they need to be home at 9PM, they show up at 9:05PM. You give them only three hours of screen time, they fight tooth and nail to have three and a half. But why are we all afraid of the negative effects of screen time when we’re not even sure what they are yet? It’s because we don’t know that it’s scary.
Sanya Slavin brought attention to the “screen time anxiety” that develops when a parent is actively fighting screen time. Now this isn’t arguing for more screen time–it’s much more complicated than that. This issue is rooted in how technology has transformed human communication. Kids are learning that it’s much easier to text than to speak over the phone. New issues–like Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)–are appearing as a result of this increased technology use. This is something parents can’t control, they can only grow with it or fight against it to no end.
Sanya Slavin is pointing to a way you can possibly make your daughter’s technological experience more beneficial and positive for the both of you. The anxiety over how much screen time your daughter is getting and making sure it doesn’t go a minute over 3 hours can get obsessive and more damaging than effective. Like Slavin says, battling each other will probably just create a rift between the two of you.
Let the negative effects of screen time anxiety go and try to bond with your daughter over the technology. This isn’t saying let it go completely; Slavin still has a rule of no screens during dinner or afterwards. Ask your daughter how Snapchat works, ask her about why she thinks Instagram is so great. Not only is this taking the “forbidden fruit” aspect away from it, it’s also giving you the ability to look into what your child’s interests are instead of telling her that her interests are wrong. See what happens. It could be the answer to the question you were looking for or your child could need further help. As a parent, the only thing you can do is try.
Asheville Academy can help
Asheville Academy is one of the top residential treatment centers for girls, ages 10-14, struggling with issues like depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. Taking place in an environment similar to a therapeutic boarding school, we will strive to help your family work through this difficult period and move your daughter towards a healthier future.
For more information about how Asheville Academy can help your daughter, call 800-264-8709 today!