Screen Time Clinic

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New Children’s Digital Wellness Book to Help Prevent Problems

The story of Screen Smart Sam, now available today for pre-orders via Kickstarter, is an inspiring yet cautionary tale about the risks of unrestrained leisure screen time in childhood that has become America’s increasingly problematic pastime.

Serious negative developmental effects from youth using screens at an early age include changes in brain structure and developmental delays that are often mis-identified by parents as learning disabilities or bipolar disorder when screen dependency is actually the root of the problem. Lower levels of the brain’s white matter, which are critical for language, literacy, and cognitive skills have been shown in children using screens as early as age two. Most parents do not realize the extent of sexually explicit material, bullying, and sharing of racist rhetoric by minors that has increased dramatically since just the beginning of the pandemic as noted in an April 2020 survey of over 3000 parents by ParentsTogether.

Screen Smart Sam is written by former English teacher, parent, and digital wellness coach Nicole Rawson inspired by her own childrens and client’s challenges that come from children growing up without clear technology boundaries from the start. As a digital wellness coach she has counseled countless clients that seek advice during teenage years at her company Screen Time Clinic® when academic and behavior problems become extremely problematic. Rawson shares, “The more we can educate parents and children from an early age about the risks even limited screen use has, the greater choices parents have to feel empowered in choosing a path that delays and limits access to technology to prevent really serious dependency problems in the future. Due to increased idle time during the pandemic, children’s screen time has skyrocketed which is a real problem because of the interactive, engaging, and addictive design of the programming, it makes other activities seem uninteresting. A little time online quickly becomes more and more without parents even realizing the true developmental impact until it becomes a crisis. By reading about these potential problems in a children’s book and learning how to prevent them with a few tips, both children and parents can stop and think before turning to tech to fill free time. ”

The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics has proactively warned the public about the negative effects of screen time and the importance of minimizing children’s exposure to only a few hours per day, yet parents continue to feel helpless when kids are at home all day. While many parents are generally aware of the dangers of screen time, Rawson believes reading Screen Smart Sam as children grow up will help keep the whole family focused on making strides towards healthy digital wellness goals. Parents, schools, and digital wellness advocates can pre-order the book via the Screen Smart Sam Kickstarter campaign, available for print May 2021.

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