The Electronic Free Zone

by drlazarus on July 29, 2013

As a child psychologist, I am encountering more questions about electronics every day.

“Is my child addicted to electronics?”

“Do electronics harm kids?”

“Do they cause ADHD?”

I recently took a family vacation to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington.  Not only was it a beautiful trip but a wonderful thing happened there.  We had no cell phone service!  We had no email!  We had no video game system or Ipad with us!

The question I have not been asked is: “Do my own electronics harm my relationship with my kids?”
Without the technology constantly texting, checking emails, watching TV, watching my kids play video games or games on their devices, we needed something to do.   Instead of sitting at the pool watching my kids play while I checked emails, I played in the pool too.  Instead of watching something worthless on TV at night, we played family games.  Instead of sitting inside on a beautiful day, we went hiking, sailing, and running.

We were able to reconnect as a family.

Lessons learned:

1)       Don’t ever let TV and electronics be a substitute for the quality time you can spend with your kids.

2)      Take out a good old fashioned board game.  They are really fun!

3)      My kids discovered that books are actually pretty good if they don’t have games to play.

4)      Have time that is electronic free time every day not only for your kids but model it as parent.

5)      Ask yourself what would happen if you actually stepped off the grid of electronics for a bit and what else you could be doing with your time?

6)      My exercise was improved when I did not listen to music, watch a TV screen at my club, or stop and check a text or email.

People with cell phones are more available than ER doctors.  We respond to texts and facebook posts at dinner with friends, when we are reading a story with our kids, and even when we are driving a car!

Take some time each day to spend quality time with your kids and detox from electronics.  There are so many fun things to do without them getting in our way.

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