The signs of addiction to electronic screens/games are obvious. But only if you know what you’re looking for.
Let’s take a moment and look closely at the featured picture. What do you see?
I see a young boy lying on the floor with a sad face. A blue double-decker toy bus is parked nearby and no one else is there. As I look deeply at his eyes, I can’t help but wonder why he’s sad.
Maybe he’s lonely or tired of the bus. He could be bored and I’ve found boredom and sadness can appear similar in children. But, he could also be sad because he’d prefer to play with something more exciting like a video game.
When I removed the electronics from my boys, this is the face I often saw—after the meltdown finally ended.
Here’s a video I recently discovered and there’s a quick lesson I’ll touch on after you watch it:
We’ve all seen babies clutching smartphones and most of us have been the one who handed it to them. So, this observation isn’t a judgment; however, it is a sharing of information we all need, me included.
Did you notice how much she loved this phone? And, when it was taken away she instantly had a fit of anxiety/anger/irritability. I’m sure you saw the bluish light reflected on her face. More info on blue light is in a previous post. Click here. When she got the phone again, what did she do? It’s like a switch was flipped and she stopped the crying and…even smiled.
It’s easy to see why we go ahead and give her the phone. Who doesn’t want a happy baby? But is that the best thing to do?
Back to the boy in the picture. Has he become so enamored with the virtual world of electronics that he has lost interest in the real world and in real people? Would he choose clicking away on a screen to running barefoot on spring grass or picking dandelions for mom? Can he spot a bluebird on a barbed wire fence and does he know how a pine tree smells when it’s freshly cut?
The baby girl looks to be about 6 months old. What do you think is now her favorite item to explore? That phone or her mother’s face?
Addiction to electronics is a lust of the flesh. Just as my addiction to morning coffee is and I’m acutely aware of this fleshly craving when I don’t get the caffeine hit. My head hurts and I’m sluggish and yes, I’m cranky. Just like this young boy may be feeling when we turn off the Minecraft or Fortnite.
As parents, we have to be aware of things our child may be getting a bit too comfortable with and ensure we’re not inadvertently setting them up for an addiction. Screens are a part of their childhood and their futures. We know that. However, it’s up to us to ensure they know how it feels to touch soft moss or how slimy mud is in the spring puddles. Or how to climb a tree and go so high it’s exhilarating.
They need to use their God-given imaginations to create their own games, their own structures, and their own personal connections. I don’t believe electronics do any of those as well as nature (God’s world) does. While my son enjoys “building” structures on a game and blowing them up, he rarely shares those accomplishments with me. However, that time we went camping and he spent hours toting stones to build a dam across an icy mountain stream that spring in North Carolina is something we still talk about.
I hope you’ll check out next week’s blog where I’ll share a bit more. But, in the meantime, what are you doing with your children for spring break?
(Photo from Pixabay)