In my last summary of The Teen Brain I hope to summarise the strategies that are suggested about how to addiction proof your home.
In the chapter the author comments on Sugar but I will focus on devices.
There really is one simple solution that is commented on – deny access. With this model will be many moments of stress and anxiety for your child and pushing the boundaries to find sneaky ways of accessing their devices. Pushing through the painful period to get this to happen will slowly move into a habitual after which some magic might happen!
You will find that they will begin to fill their time with other things to keep them occupied. I’m not sure what this might be but hopefully being more active, spending more time reading or engaging with their friends face to face when they feel they need company.
For me as the Principal of the school there is a challenge to develop a model that enables us to meet the curriculum demands of our system, preparing students to use technology to develop skills that are required in a modern day workplace and personal life as well as considering the beliefs of our community and the emerging research. Technology in schools will continue – the connection between technology at school and home needs to be redesigned, this is something we will work on this year.
As I progressed through the reading if there was one thing I would have changed for my own children it would have been to avoid buying them a SMART Phone. As suggested in the book I would have purchased a old style flip phone that they could use to make or take calls and text messages. Its good for you to know this in the lead up to adolescence and your children who will be trying to convince you to get them an i phone. Most secondary schools will require you to purchase a device of some sort – usually a laptop – which my experiences tell me are used to complete homework and assignments, and for YOU Tube – but it is the iPhone that the teens in my house have the greatest attachment to.
As a school we have a great deal in place to support students and families in understanding the challenges of devices – during term 3 and 4 we will again offer some workshops for you to attend to build your capacity as parents to tackle the challenges your children will face as adolescents.
I will add that it is important to acknowledge that there are opposing views and research available regarding devices and social media – i will provide some commentary in the coming weeks but would like to close by reminding you of the 5 simple rules Gillespie shares with us:
- Parents make the rules and kids follow them. So be a parent.
- The rules should restrict access to personal devices and all other addictive substances.
- Breaches of rules should be punished consistently.
- All teens need 8 hours of sleep per night.
I guess there is an opportunity for you to start now while your child is in primary school!