“New Research Shows Just How Bad Screens Can Be for Kids’ Brains.” “Screen Time for Kids Under 2 More Than Doubles.” “Groundbreaking Study Examines Effects of Screen Time on Kids.” “A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley.”
If these headlines haven’t gotten your attention recently, Judy Stoffel, author of #LookUp: A Parenting Guide to Screen Use (Wise Ink Creative Publishing, 2019, $14.95), says they should have. A landmark study was just launched by the federal government, through the National Institute of Health (NIH), to determine the effects screen time have on kids’ brains, as well as their emotional development and mental health.
According to a Dec. 2108 story on CBS’s 60 Minutes, the NIH will follow 11,000 kids for a decade and spend $300 million doing it. Stoffel comments, “As parents, we can’t wait ten years for this study to be completed.
“Other studies have already revealed that screen use can be addicting for children, much like drug use and gambling is for adults. We also know it can disrupt sleep patterns, cause memory problems, IQ declines, anxiety and depression. We have enough evidence pointing toward a need to change our relationships with our screens. There is so much information parents know little about because this adoption of technology happened very fast and kind of snuck up on us,” said Stoffel, who has five children ranging in age from 29 to 15.
Stoffel is a certified public accountant with 20 years’ experience in large corporate America. She states, “This is a business problem born in Silicon Valley. The large tech companies are monetizing our kids’ attention and their largest income stream comes from advertisers. It’s time to take this control back and start changing things in your own home. We are raising our children, not Silicon Valley.”
#LookUp: A Parenting Guide to Screen Use just hit the market on Mar. 10, 2019. The book includes chapters on the benefits and risks associated with technology and strategies for reducing one’s screen time without giving up the benefits technology offers. There is also advice on how to create a family media plan as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Parents have to make an intentional effort to turn their attention to where their children’s attention is going. Be engaged, be nosy, know what they’re doing in their digital world as much as you do in the real world. My goal for the book is to prove your phone can be indispensable, but not addictive. I’m not telling people to get rid of their phones or computers. I love mine as well; but use them for things that they are amazing for, then put them away. Quit using them for all the silly things we do with them all day just to occupy ourselves when we are bored, or to entertain us,” she said.
#LookUp has been well received by parents, educators and the medical community.
ABOUT JUDY STOFFEL
Judy Stoffel is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), business professional, author, and mother. Stoffel grew up in La Crosse, Wisconsin and currently lives in Chanhassen, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, with her husband and 15- year-old son. Her older children, ranging in age from 22 to 29, are now all out on their own.
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