Working Mother – Is Tech Taking Over Your Teen?

What a great article! Making good decisions about media consumption is an ongoing parenting and personal challenge for moms. Working moms, with limited time and random cell phone and other tech intrusions into their family time, often have special challenges. My work and research has shown me that this is an important family issue that parents are often torn about. Many come up with good compromises, but stay feeling uncertain and have guilt feelings. Except for limit setting, there just is not enough good guidance (except for scare advice) out there, even after over a decade of media dominance in our homes. So I decided to write “Kids, Families & Technology: A Guide for Young Families” as family- and child- centered book based on my many years of practice and research as a child psychiatrist about making media a positive part of parenting and family life (see www.mydigitalfamily.org.) I believe that media is here to stay, and with guided use can become a positive and helpful parts of family life that improve relationships.

The Online Mom Is technology separating us from our kids…?

A nagging sense of guilt and inadequacy haunts many moms distracted by today’s technology, just as their kids are also becoming less connected to families, as studies show. Good parenting today requires careful planning – like meal preparation – setting access limits of electronic-free times and places, and extensive meaningful positive planned interactions with media together.

The New York Times: Business Section p. 7 Junk Food, Junk Media

Re “Educational Hope vs. Teenage Reality” (Digital Domain, July 11),

which described how studies showed a decline in academic performance after students in low-income households received a computer in the home:

Without active parental planning and supervision, children consume junk media as they do junk food. Left to themselves, children properly regard almost everything as toys and do not consider long-term benefits or hazards.

Parents should regard digital media as a way to enhance children’s development and family life. Learning is essentially a developmental social that needs the nurturing involvement of adults.

EITAN D. SCHWARZ, M.D.

Skokie,Ill., July 11

The writer is a child psychiatrist.

RE: Kids, Parents & Technology: A Guide for Young Families Aims To Help Parents With Their Digital Families

7.7.10

After a decade of significant technological change with an emphasis on online safety, it’s obvious digital tools profoundly affect families in their daily lives.

Dr. Eitan Schwarz, a veteran Chicago child-psychiatrist uses media as play therapy in his practice and addresses this issue in his book, KIDS, PARENTS & TECHNOLOGY: A GUIDE FOR YOUNG FAMILIES as well as online at http://mydigitalfamily.org.

The steady flow of technology is impacting family relationships, causing some to become media-saturated. Oftentimes parents don’t know how to manage the available technology. Dr. S’ book discusses how parents can apply hand-held gadget use, Web site interaction, video game play and more to bring families together while promoting healthy child development.

“Kids need healthy media diets now to create nourishing futures. Otherwise, kids will consume junk media as they do junk food,” Dr. S.

“In fact”, remarks Dr. S,“Parents tell me that they are left frustrated and without a comprehensive approach and practical tools – they don’t know what to do.  They are very concerned and, many try to restrict access and time which can cause unnecessary conflict.”

Dr. S applies principles of good parenting to home technology consumption, giving parents a comprehensive, hands-on set of tools that will integrate technology into good parenting practices.  As new devices emerge, parents need to be able to make smart decisions about how to use them in their homes and in their children’s hands, the same way they make choices about education, recreation and nutrition.

“Parents need to commit themselves to learn about technology and use it as they do other home appliances .  Technology gadgets need to be integrated into family life and aid in children’s development,” Dr. S commented.

Dr. Schwarz is a pediatric and adolescent psychiatrist who is known as Dr. S.  He is a veteran clinician on the faculty of Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.