Why It's Hard to Put Your Phone Down and What to Do About It
Buzzing, pinging, and little red numbers -- oh, my! Those phone notifications can be hard to ignore, and they're just one piece of the compulsive puzzle. Why are devices, social media, and games so hard to resist? There's very specific science that makes it so.
That same science that makes it tricky for parents is even stickier for kids who don't have a fully developed prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that helps with impulse control, among other things. Essentially, we're all up against teams of psychologists who know how our brains work and what will keep us tapping, swiping, and playing. And it's only harder for kids.
Though voicing our concerns about how tech and media are developed to keep us coming back is important, it doesn't help us day to day in our homes. That's where it's most helpful to pull back the curtain on the tactics developers use so kids are armed with information. You can even use a Wizard of Oz analogy with little kids. It's also critical to model the behavior you want to see, so showing your kids how to prioritize and use devices as tools helps show them how to use them in balance. And setting expectations around device-free times and zones can reinforce important face-to-face time as well.