My Kids are Addicted to Their Electronics … HELP!

Before reading this article, I ask that you be kind to me regarding my thoughts. My boys are very different in most ways but similar, in the fact that they are both addicted to their electronics.

My Kids are Addicted to Their Electronics … HELP!

When my son Brady was about 3 years old, we allowed him to start playing on his iPad watching shows on YouTube and playing games. It seemed innocent at the time. Besides allowing him to sleep with me, this was my biggest regret as a new mother.

Brady had a lot of sleep and sensory issues. The iPad was comforting to him at that time and still is. It would allow me to get things done around the house, read books, talk on the phone, etc. I had no idea it would be so addictive at that time. Brady loved the shows about Power Rangers and the kids playing with Power Ranger toys. Honestly, I thought he was being entertained and not forming an addiction.

Blake on his iPad watching YouTube shortsBy the time my son Blake came around, my hands were completely full with Brady. Brady had been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and at that time Brady was in OT, Speech, and being evaluated for Autism. This time the iPad was keeping Blake occupied while I had to turn my focus to Brady and his needs.

Now both my boys feel like they cannot survive without having electronics to keep their focus. A wonderful, wise friend once told me, “It takes time, effort, creativity and diligence to come up with solutions and other options that are better for them.” And we are failing at that.

In an effort to turn their focus, I tell them they must tell me 3 things about their day before any electronics. They each are to tell me one good thing about their day, one thing that made them upset or sad if any, and something fun or interesting that they learned. Most of the time this turns into a conversation, and they often forget about their devices for at least a little while. We started playing the alphabet game in the car or other games that I played when I was a child to also turn their focus. Of course, this forces me to turn my phone off and be present with them, which is something I need to work on myself.

Home is a different environment; they not only have iPads but also gaming devices. Thankfully I have an app on my phone to disable their iPad at any time, so this does help from time to time, but it also proves my point that they are clearly addicted to their electronics because they are counting down the minutes until I turn it back on. The app is called OurPact and it is a wonderful tool that provides time limits and alerts when apps are downloaded.

In writing this article, I hope this turns into a topic of discussion about how you handle electronics at your home. This is not to criticize anyone. Parents in today’s time have different struggles than we did when we were younger. We all need to find a way to navigate these waters together. I heard someone on the radio once say electronics are like a drug with a plug and I could not agree more!

So, I ask you, how do you handle your child’s screen time? Send any advice my way … please just be kind.


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