How to prevent the allure of digital media from overtaking you or your loved ones
I admit it: I love technology. It’s the air I breathe. I tweet. I post to Facebook (you can find me there often—but not right now; keep reading!). I keep my Android smartphone with me at all times and live on my “big” computer for hours every day. I have multiple monitors. I have multiple email accounts, which all forward to one another to ensure I always get my messages, which are also synched to my phone. I own a Kindle. I own an iPad.
So—I get it. I understand the pull, the excitement, the fun of the digital forms of technology. And I am a true believer in harnessing their positives.
But I’m also a counselor and an addiction specialist, and some of what I see in digital media is deeply alarming. Kids age 8 through 18 spend almost 7-1/2 hours every day awash in media, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study. Factoring in their ability to multitask (listening to music while browsing Facebook, for example), their media exposure rises to almost 11 hours a day—every day. Teens spend as much time (or more) with their media as parents do at work. Add in school and sleep, and it’s amazing how little time is left for a family to be a family.