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from the West Wing

Here’s the latest installment from Dr. Charles Fay of the Love and Logic Institute on technology and kids. Enjoy. The Root Causes of Technology Addiction At Love and Logic, our focus has always been to provide simple, down-to-earth strategies for raising happy and well-behaved kids. As such, we don’t typically spend much time describing the scientific research behind these strategies. I’d like to make an exception this week. I’d like to summarize a body of research that gets directly to the heart of why some kids (and adults) become so addicted to technology that their lives begin to fall apart. The problem…and the solution…have relatively nothing to do with technology…and everything to do with relationships. The bottom line: People at risk for developing these problems feel so badly about themselves, and their lives, that they will do anything to escape into a world where they feel competent, powerful and liked. For example, researchers Kwon, Chung and Lee found that those at highest risk score high on the following variables: Escape from Self The child believes that they don’t measure up. Compared to the perceived standards of their parents, peers, school, self, or world, they feel inadequate, unattractive, or responsible for everything that goes wrong. Negative Mood Severe anxiety and depression are the logical result of a child believing that they’re worthless. Perceived Parent Hostility/Lack of Affection Loving relationships matter! Kids at risk for escape from self and depression believe that they can’t do anything to please their parents: “Nothing I do is good enough.” Low Parental Supervision Lack of supervision communicates lack of valuing: “My parents don’t even care...

from the West Wing

Here’s the next installment from Love and Logic about kids and technology. Hope you are enjoying what Dr. Charles Fay has to say. Mistakes Made On-Line: Affordable or Not? “Hope and pray every day that your kids make plenty of mistakes when they are young…when the “price tags” are affordable.” Since the 1970’s, we’ve repeated this statement thousands of times. Why? Simply because children allowed to learn by making affordable mistakes are less likely to make life and death ones later on. We learn most of the important lessons in life, not by being lectured, but by experiencing the consequences of our decisions. So…should we be hoping and praying that our kids chat with predators on-line, stumble upon pornography, become so addicted to video games that they miss out on life, text while driving, etc.? Absolutely not! Wise parents yank their children back onto the sidewalk when they begin to dart into traffic. Likewise, they do whatever they can to prevent their kids from making unaffordable mistakes with technology. One of the most challenging aspects of parenting is striking a balance between over-protection and allowing children to make healthy mistakes. Further complicating matters is the fact that we can’t completely ensure that our kids won’t get sneaky and make unaffordable ones. We can up the odds of success by doing the following: • Humbly admit to our kids that we can’t always watch them and keep them from messing up THEIR OWN lives. This allows them to understand that rebelling hurts THEM…not us. • By consistently using sincere empathy, show them that they can talk to us about their...

from the West Wing

Allow me to share the second installment from Love and Logic on technology and kids by Dr. Charles Fay. Ready for Cell Phones, Social Media, etc.: At What Age? At what age should our kids be allowed to have their own cell phones? When is it appropriate for them to begin using social media? The overly simplistic answer: Not before their early to middle teenage years. Few kids have the maturity to handle the pressures of these privileges prior to adolescence. In fact, many adults lack the maturity! “Maturity” is the key word. Since the stakes are so high, I encourage parents to take the following survey to see whether their kids might be ready. Rate your answers from 1 to 5 for all the statements below. Total your score at the end. 1—————2—————3—————4—————5   Not at all                                                      Absolutely My child is respectful and fun to be around most of the time. My child typically makes good decisions when he or she isn’t being watched. My child takes responsibility for his or her poor decisions without blaming others. My child believes that using technology is a privilege…not an entitlement or “right.” My child understands that not everybody online is their “friend.” My child completes chores and other responsibilities without needing to be nagged. My child isn’t hooked on drama or gossip. When I ask my child to turn off the TV, video game, etc. they do so without arguing. My child handles conflict, teasing and other social trials without...

from the West Wing

I receive an email each week from the Love and Logic Institute. During the month of January, Dr. Charles Fay has been writing some wonderful articles on Technology and Kids. I would like to pass them on to you. The first one follows. Technology and Kids: Real Solutions Each and every day our kids have opportunities to take cutting edge courses on the ins and outs of the latest technology. Visiting with their friends, they can learn what’s hot, what’s not, and how to work around most technological safeguards we put in place.   While they are taking these graduate-level courses, most of us are working long hours, paying bills, cooking, cleaning, fixing broken stuff and trying to squeeze a few more hours out of each day.   As a result, trying to keep ahead of our kids’ technological savvy is impossible for most of us. Watching them every second of the day is also unrealistic. While it’s tough for some of us to admit, we have very little direct control over whether they make good digital decisions…or bad.   Real solutions to technology issues have little to do with technology…and almost everything to do with relationships.   When we have little or no direct control over any issue, we must rely on helping our kids become motivated to make good decisions from the inside-out rather than the outside-in. This means helping them feel so loved that they want to make good choices. This means providing limits in ways that reduce the odds of unwinnable power-struggles. This means allowing them to experience empathy and consequences when they blow it…so that...

from the West Wing

As you know, I am a big fan of Love and Logic. I recently read an article that I thought I would share with you today. It’s entitled “Listenin Means Love.” “How do wise parents and educators respond when their kids try to argue and manipulate? The most effective repeat an empathetic one-liner, such as “I love you too much to argue” or “I know” or “What did I say?” They also resist the urge to think too deeply about what the child is saying.   Do we do this when kids are hurting? Do we employ this strategy when they’re respectfully expressing their opinions? No! We listen.   When I ask people to describe the parents and teachers they respected the most as kids, they almost always mention something like, “They were always there to listen.”                Listening means love. It means that we sincerely care about another’s opinions and emotions. Here’s the problem: Many of us have a hard time listening when someone around us is emotional or is disagreeing with us. That’s why it’s helpful to have a few little sincere statements or questions in our back pockets: Tell me more. Help me understand. What would you like to see here? How long have you felt this way? The next time one of your kids expresses their opinion…or their hurt…be sure to lend a sincere and empathetic ear, showing loving interest by using the points above. Remember: The more you listen to them, the more likely they’ll listen to you. If the tone turns disrespectful or manipulative, you can always switch gears and repeat, “I...