Setting Limits On Screen Time

Have you ever had a video game addiction or a TV obsession?

In my early twenties, I was living in Hollywood and my new found friends recruited me to Buffy Nite.   

And for the next 5 years, every Tuesday, you could find me engrossed in the weekly sagas of this Joss Wheedon cult-TV-favorite.

Campy?  Mostly yes.

Deep, meaningful storylines and some of the best writing on TV? Definitely yes.

I love a good character-driven show. 

It got me thinking about my various obsessions and passions over the years: Buffy, Barry Manilow, Bon Jovi, Bjork.... and my daughter's current ones: Acrobatics, Annie, ALL-things musical, Austin & Ally... 

Am I seeing a pattern here?

Recently, a friend prompted me to encourage my daughter's love [obsession] of musical theater. "It'll keep her out of trouble when she's older. Sports did that for me," she said.

That hit me. 

Of course, I would happily encourage my daughter to follow her passions -- whatever they morph into [oh god, please don't let it be gymnastics - I'll need to be sedated at meets]. 

I also know that she tends to drop things that she can't do effortlessly and could easily fall-out-of-love with musical theater, dance, or Austin & Ally [oh please let it be Austin & Ally] - jumping from activity to activity, without ever delving into something deeply enough to experience the growth and mastery she needs.

I realized how easily some things could interrupt her motivation and desire. 

It's a fine balance. 

I don't like to rule over her activities, and at the same time, I have a responsibility to make sure that her play is building her brain skills and not passively numbing the creative centers.

Now, I don't have a particular fascination with online gaming.

I don't do Candy Crush, I got tired of the Scrabble app after a few months and I'm not even all that interested in watching TV these days, but growing up I was surrounded by lots of gaming addictions - from Atari to Nintendo to the poker machines in Atlantic City... 

I am certain that violent video games can potentially lead to aggressive behavior and desensitize kids to violence.

But, I don't think ALL video games are unhealthy and I'm not about to blame an entire industry for causing addiction or making kids violent, because I think we have to take some personal responsibility there.

As with anything that we do over and over - we create patterns in the brain and the brain seeks familiarity.

It's like any affirmation - if you keep watching and participating in it, especially emotionally as you do with music or an alternate video reality - it's going to change the structure of your brain and impact the way you respond to events.
But, can we help our kids find a balance between pleasurable activity and numbing, mind-altering addiction?

In this episode of TEACHable Moments, I'm sharing five tips to help you help your kids curb their video addictions by setting limits on screen-time.

Obviously, we can't cover everything in a 7 minute video so, I'd love for you to share some ways in which you have helped your child manage the boundaries around screen time.

After you watch, share your thoughts in the comments below!

Thank you so much for watching and remember, it's about being conscious - not perfect!

Talk soon,

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About Lori

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