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Mobile Device Use

Welcome to 2019! 

Now that we are in the third month of the new year I assume all the children have had time to get a good grasp of their latest handheld device or console. I just finished a book by Larry Rosen IDisorder. Dr. Rosen has conducted several research studies on the topic of media and device usage among teens and young adults. Although this read is not for everyone, I did find his research, and recommendations very interesting. 

Dr. Rosen does not go into great detail on how to keep children safe online but how parents can promote a healthy technological life for you and your children. In other words, technology is everywhere and will be in even more places as technology advances. What if you and your family sat down for a scheduled meal in the evening and your family was able to carry on a conversation for 1 hour without handheld devices or mobile phones.

The common problem with technology is that it is very, very, difficult to set aside for any amount of time. 

Rosen (2012) explained that this is due to our now new definition of attention and obsession with our ever-changing world. Research showed that adults, teens, and children each have this in common. If you would like to see changes in your teens and kids; if your goal as a parent is to have a more meaningful relationship with your teen, then your behavior and interaction with technology is a critical factor in the results.

For instance, if you tend to use your device the entire time you are at the dinner table, then your child will think this is proper behavior. This behavior sets the precedence of ignoring the people at the table and finding more enjoyment with your device. If you tend to look at your device while you are having a conversation with someone and your child observes these actions then he or she will find this as suitable as well. On the other hand, as a parent, you will find your child looking at their device when you want to have a conversation with them. You may also see your child looking at his/her phone at supper time and not interacting with the people at the table.

I am not suggesting that you remove all technology from the dinner table or your home and neither did Dr. Rosen. I believe that technology and mobile devices are great and wonderful things that make our lives much more comfortable than they were without them. As a parent, you have the power, and the capability to change your behavior and thereby to change the behavior of your child.

So how do we as adults change our behavior or interaction with our devices? Dr. Rosen recommends device lite days, pick a day or two to limit your device usage.

This could be a Saturday or Sunday that you could limit your device usage. Although difficult at first you may find it fun. Something that I came up with was to put my phone, tablet, and laptop in my office upstairs Friday before dinner. This allows me a kind of freedom that I haven’t felt in a long time. Come up with a plan that works for you and your family and give it a try. Let me know how it goes.

Rosen, L. D. (2012). iDisorder: Understanding our obsession with technology and overcoming its hold on us. New York, NY, Palgrave Macmillan.

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