Kelly Wallace, CNN’s digital correspondent and editor-at-large covering new findings on teenage addiction to smartphone, including parenting in this age.
Our kids are addicted to screens. TV, computer screen, tablet or Smartphone – kids can spend up to 75% of their day playing with one or the other.
Whenever I visit my nephews, I experience how strong this addiction can be. My 2 year old nephew is browsing the YouTube app on the iPad almost as fast as I do. Well, this is amazing, and I admire this little smart guy, but I have problems to communicate with him because his attention span is so short.
A few months back I started UNDIGITIZE.ME first and foremost for myself. I am addicted to the Smartphone, and I wanted to find ways to get my life back. The deeper I dig, I get to the real problems – and kids’ addiction to screens is one of them. Now, with the “Phone Faced Down” campaign, on family dinners we are no longer allowing the kids to play with any of the screens, and we see the change immediately. They cry and cry for half an hour, but then they get creative and play with us. So I get to know my nephew more and more.
But influencing my own family is not enough – I feel that I want to make a real change. I want more kids, and more parents get aware to the screens addiction. I want the message to spread – that is the whole purpose of UNDIGITIZE.ME. I want parents to discuss it with each other and with their kids. Understanding the good and the bad in the screens. What we can gain, but also what we lose when we are “screening” ourselves so much.
With that in mind, I’m ready for the next challenge – spreading the word to the kids. And what is a better way doing that, than creating a children’s book, that will inspire them – not preaching to them – to try and visit the world outside the screens a bit more. To explore the abundance in the physical world, more than they do today.
I will share this beautiful journey with you in the next few weeks and months.
// Lior Frenkel
To read more about kids and tech addiction, try Michael’s guest post.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post. Michael Gilin is a husband, father, telecommunications professional and blogger at Maveze. Fascinated by social media, amazed by technology, thinks he has valuable things to say and loves to share his observations and opinions with the world. You can follow his blogs here and here.
No doubt we live in a super technological era. And it’s a blessing. It’s what drives all the mankind forward into the future. But in some way, as every coin has two sides, it’s also a curse. Technology is making our lives easier in many ways, but also turns us to be quite dependent on it. It is changing the way we live, influencing the way we behave, altering the way we think. And if by “we” I mean mostly iY, Y and even X generations. You can only imagine the implications it will have on our children.
When I was a 4 years old toddler (in the beginning of the 80s), the most sophisticated piece of technology we had was a black-and-white TV set with manual knob to change the channels and adjust the brightness.
A South Korean campaign against smartphone addiction involves warning kids in classrooms that too much internet use makes them “mindless slaves” or “losers.”
More than 80% of kids aged 12 to 19 were found to have a smartphone in 2012, double from 2011.
As a kid I was very curious. I always wanted to know more, and do more. So when my parents got me sitting around the table for dinner, or a family gathering, I thought this is the most boredom thing that could happen to me. Instead of playing with my toys, or reading a book, I had to just sit there and be quiet, or speak with the grown-ups. B-o-r-i-n-g!
But that boredom had a great power. It made me take my mind places. Dream about things happening around me, fantasaize about events that never really happened. My imagination worked the best at boredom moments, and my inner world expanded.
Another thing I used to do around the table, is to be quiet and listen to the grown-ups. Catching up new phrases, learning about politics and various issues – things I had no clue about – had filled up those moments.
Last week I bumped into another post about Internet Addiction and kids. Written by Liz Quilty on Google Plus, this post suggests a very common method to stop kids from getting addicted to the Internet – to unplug it.
Quoting Liz Quilty:
Its great that you let your kids use your digital devices, but how much of the day do they spend on them? or TV? or anything else?
Having seen this first hand, i can assure you its a real addiction, and adults have this as well as a lot of teenagers. It’s not a nice thing to have to get over, or to see somebody else from suffering with.
Luckily its an easy one to get over, take a holiday away for a couple of weeks, make sure there is no internet or cell coverage. Go tramping, go overseas, or heck, even unplug the router and post it in the mail to yourself for a few days peace 🙂
Well, I think that’s the wrong way to go.
Are we raising a generation of addicted techno tots? It emerged this week that a four-year-old needed psychiatric treatment for her iPad addiction. And half of all parents let their children use tablets or smartphones – yet 81 per cent of mums and dads worry about the psychological effect, with many tots throwing tantrums when gadgets are taken away.
I admit it – I’m a smartphone addict. First thing in the morning, last before I fall asleep – I’m checking my phone. Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Tech News and other apps – they got me hooked.
I look around me, and I see other people like me. And not only my age – my mom is addicted as well, my young nephews LOVE their dad’s phone and iPad and will use every chance to play with it.
It’s not news we are addicted to our phones. You can see it in every cafe, in the streets, in the office, and, well – good thing toilet walls are blocking me from see you there with your iPhone in your hands.
This has got to stop.