Technology has completely changed our society, for good and for bad, and has also changed the way parents raise their children. We have the ability to be entertained every hour of every day through our smartphones, computers, and tablets. With the click of a button, we can watch a video, learn something new, or play a game. As your Hermosa Beach therapist, I ask all of my clients, is the digital age helping or hurting our concentration and our mental health? Researchers have questioned and studied whether the increased use of digital technology has decreased our attention spans or not. Unfortunately, the answer is most likely yes, it has decreased our ability to concentrate. However, I do not believe this is an end all situation. I work with all of my clients, children and adults, to have a healthy balance with technology and focus on the most important things in their life. Through family therapy, we can determine which areas of your life need more attention and where we can decrease your family’s use of technology. Together, we can address the best way to concentrate, even in our ever changing digital world!
Our digital devices certainly can help us with work or studying, but they can also hurt us and our children by being a distraction. As a parent, I encourage you to put a limit on your use of technology and the use of your children. For example, when it is time for homework, I urge you to think about your child’s need for their computer or tablet. Does their homework actual require the internet? Or, can it simply be accomplished with their textbook and notebook? Most of the time, the latter is true. And, as parents, you should do the same and set a good example.
Technology also comes with a lot of distractions. When doing a simple task on the internet, we are also reminded that we have email, facebook, and instagram notifications. These small notifications allow our minds to wander and eventually completely abandon the task at hand. I want you and your family to minimize this type of activity, to ultimately decrease the distractions you experience. Set strict rules or guidelines for when it is appropriate to use your devices and when it is not.
Normally, when we use our devices, we do so inside with our heads down. While some time for technology is fine, you should balance it with time spent outside in the fresh air, especially for your children. As your Hermosa Beach therapist, I cannot stress the importance of time outside enough. It does amazing things for our mental health. By having a balanced lifestyle with technology and time outside, you will see higher concentration levels in yourself and your family. For your children, they should be encouraged to play outside, ride a bike, or go for a hike. Spending time in nature releases wonderful endorphins for our bodies. And, I also encourage the entire family to spend time together outside. These types of experiences will not only increase family bonds, but they will also decrease the need for technology if you are doing a fun, engaging activity. With my family therapy clients, we discuss the benefits of a weekend camping, a family run, or a family beach day. All of these are simple activities that can do so much for the mental health of your family.
Ultimately, it all comes down to a healthy balance. By setting limits on technology and encouraging play time outside, you will see that your children concentrate more in other areas of their life like school and homework. This balance will be different for every child and every family. I am here to help discuss what could be the most appropriate balance for you and your family. Together, we can determine the areas that technology is not necessary and maybe replace it with a fun family activity. For any questions or concerns, always feel free to come by my office in Hermosa Beach. I am here as a resource for all of my clients. We can navigate this digital world together! Call or stop by the office for a consultation today. Your family’s ability to concentrate with technology is very important to me.