The Bulletin

Understanding Kids: Pushing the Reset Button

In our series of parent education perspectives comes this analysis from Victoria L. Dinckley, M.D. for Psychology Today Magazine. Dr. Dunckley is an award-winning integrative child psychiatrist and is also the author of the book  "Reset Your Child's Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-TimeRead her article about the effects of screens on child behaviors and cognitive development:


Screentime Is Making Kids Moody, Crazy and Lazy

"Psychology Today Magazine,"  published: August 18th, 2015

Children or teens who are “revved up” and prone to rages or—alternatively—who are depressed and apathetic have become disturbingly commonplace. Chronically irritable children are often in a state of abnormally high arousal, and may seem “wired and tired.” That is, they’re agitated but exhausted. Because chronically high arousal levels impact memory and the ability to relate, these kids are also likely to struggle academically and socially.

At some point, a child with these symptoms may be given a mental-health diagnosis such as major depression, bipolar disorder, or ADHD, and offered corresponding treatments, including therapy and medication. But often these treatments don’t work very well, and the downward spiral continues.

What’s happening?

Both parents and clinicians may be “barking up the wrong tree.” That is, they’re trying to treat what looks like a textbook case of mental disorder, but failing to rule out and address the most common environmental cause of such symptoms—everyday use of electronics. Time and again, I’ve realized that regardless of whether there exists any “true” underlying diagnoses, successfully treating a child with mood dysregulation today requires methodically eliminating all electronics use for several weeks—an “electronics fast” —to allow the nervous system to “reset.”

If done correctly, this intervention can produce deeper sleep, a brighter and more even mood, better focus and organization, and an increase in physical activity. The ability to tolerate stress improves, so meltdowns diminish in both frequency and severity. The child begins to enjoy the things they used to, is more drawn to nature, and imaginary or creative play returns. In teens and young adults, an increase in self-directed behavior is observed—the exact opposite of apathy and hopelessness.

It’s a beautiful thing.

At the same time, the electronic fast reduces or eliminates the need for medication while rendering other treatments more effective. Improved sleep, more exercise, and more face-to-face contact with others compound the benefits—an upward spiral! After the fast, once the brain is reset, the parent can carefully determine how much if any electronics use the child can tolerate without symptoms returning.

Restricting electronics may not solve everything, but it’s often a missing link in treatment when kids are stuck.  

But why is the electronic fast intervention so effective? Because it reverses much of the physiological dysfunction produced by daily screen time. 

Children’s brains are much more sensitive to electronics use than most of us realize. In fact, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take much electronic stimulation to throw a sensitive and still-developing brain off track. Also, many parents mistakenly believe that interactive screen-time—Internet or social media use, texting, emailing, and gaming—isn’t harmful, especially compared to passive screen time like watching TV. In fact, interactive screen time is more likely to cause sleep, mood, and cognitive issues, because it’s more likely to cause hyperarousal and compulsive use.  


Six ways electronic screen time makes kids angry, depressed and unmotivated...


Here’s a look at six physiological mechanisms that explain electronics’ tendency to produce mood disturbance:  

1. Screen time disrupts sleep and desynchronizes the body clock

Because light from screen devices mimics daytime, it suppresses melatonin, a sleep signal released by darkness. Just minutes of screen stimulation can delay melatonin release by several hours and desynchronize the body clock. Once the body clock is disrupted, all sorts of other unhealthy reactions occur, such as hormone imbalance and brain inflammation. Plus, high arousal doesn’t permit deep sleep, and deep sleep is how we heal.

2. Screen time desensitizes the brain’s reward system

Many children are “hooked” on electronics, and in fact gaming releases so much dopamine—the “feel-good” chemical—that on a brain scan it looks the same as cocaine use. But when reward pathways are overused, they become less sensitive, and more and more stimulation is needed to experience pleasure. Meanwhile, dopamine is also critical for focus and motivation, so needless to say, even small changes in dopamine sensitivity can wreak havoc on how well a child feels and functions.

3. Screen time produces “light-at-night”

Light-at-night from electronics has been linked to depression and even suicide risk in numerous studies. In fact, animal studies show that exposure to screen-based light before or during sleep causes depression, even when the animal isn’t looking at the screen. Sometimes parents are reluctant to restrict electronics use in a child’s bedroom because they worry the child will enter a state of despair—but in fact removing light-at-night is protective.  

4. Screen time induces stress reactions

Both acute stress (fight-or-flight) and chronic stress produce changes in brain chemistry and hormones that can increase irritability. Indeed, cortisol, the chronic stress hormone, seems to be both a cause and an effect of depression—creating a vicious cycle. Additionally, both hyperarousal and addiction pathways suppress the brain’s frontal lobe, the area where mood regulation actually takes place.

5. Screen time overloads the sensory system, fractures attention, and depletes mental reserves

Experts say that what’s often behind explosive and aggressive behavior is poor focus. When attention suffers, so does the ability to process one’s internal and external environment, so little demands become big ones. By depleting mental energy with high visual and cognitive input, screen time contributes to low reserves. One way to temporarily “boost” depleted reserves is to become angry, so meltdowns actually become a coping mechanism.

6. Screen-time reduces physical activity levels and exposure to “green time”

Research shows that time outdoors, especially interacting with nature, can restore attention, lower stress, and reduce aggression. Thus, time spent with electronics reduces exposure to natural mood enhancers.


In today’s world, it may seem crazy to restrict electronics so drastically. But when kids are struggling, we’re not doing them any favors by leaving electronics in place and hoping they can wind down by using electronics in "moderation." It just doesn't work. In contrast, by allowing the nervous system to return to a more natural state with a strict fast, we can take the first step in helping a child become calmer, stronger, and happier.  ---

The article can be read at its source:
Psychology Today Magazine website

Photo: Chubykin Arkady/Shutterstock Top: pathdoc/fotolia

Betrayal, murder & other bad behaviors in the 8th grade play

Dear Friends and Families of Chicago Waldorf School,    You are invited to attend:

You’re A Dead Man, Charlie Brown

                Friday, April 1st & Saturday, April 2nd, at 7:30pm

                in the CWS Auditorium  /  1300 W. Loyola Avenue


Broadway’s Planter’s Theatre is set to present a revival of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” when, on opening night, the lead actor is murdered. How could this be? Will the show actually go on? And who dunnit? Follow along as Inspector Doyle O’Connor of the NYPD is called in to unravel this tangled web of deceit, betrayal, murder, and other forms of bad behavior. Enjoy listening to some of the songs and dances (frequently interrupted) of the original play.

Come and enjoy the antics for April Fools Day!

This play was originally written by 8th grade teacher, John Trevillion (with considerable input from his class) in 1995. It was the product, you might say, of a most fortunate accident. In two subsequent productions - in 2003 and 2016 - Mr. Trevillion has solicited further input from the students of those classes, and woven in new material. It has been as much fun to write as it has been to see performed. Come enjoy the twists and turns of the play and support the 8th grade class.

Between Act refreshments will be served. This play is for ages 10 years old and up
Admission is free, but donations toward the 8th grade class fund are welcome.

Thanks to 8th grader, Katherine Norquist for the lovely poster art.

Joy is a Jam Donut, You Make Yourself

Kendall College Master Baker Visits Waldorf

The Middle School's 7th grade recently participated in a baking workshop in which they learned the professional processes, procedures and nutritional science behind baking...all in service to concocting a fun confection similar to the Jelly Donut. 

This workshop is a typical component of the German class curriculum. Whats the connection, you ask? Well in fact the students were making "Berliner Pfannkuchen" a classic pastry bun that is traditionally prepared and served in Germany for New Year's Eve ("Silvester") and also for the carnival holidays ("Rosenmontag" and "Fat Tuesday").

As is essential to the Waldorf curriculum, students literally learned by DOING (mixing, kneading, punching, waiting, rolling, cutting, forming, baking, preparing, filling, glazing, sprinkling and waiting some more...all in service to the final payoff...EATING and ENJOYING!)


Between the optimist and the pessimist, the difference is droll. The optimist sees the doughnut; the pessimist the hole!             – Oscar Wilde


Special thanks to Master Baker, Melina Kelson-Podolsky who led the students through the workshop that she normally teaches at the prestigious Kendall College Pastry program. In addition to being one of only a handful of Certified Master Bakers in the United States, Kelson-Podolsky sits on the board of directors of the Bread Baker’s Guild of America.

In the Waldorf workshop, various aspects of baking science were analyzed and practiced as well as observations made by CWS German teacher, Frau Gambill, about the many variations in presentation and donut forms that range across cultures (After all a Berliner is not the same as a jelly donut, which is not the same as a Bavarian Cream nor a Kitchener Bun. Long Johns and Bismarks are different than "Jambusters" and "Burlington Buns." Its interesting how every culture identifies its pastries differently by cultural heritage...and lets not even get started on the diverse cultural backgrounds behind the humble and ubiquitous "dumpling.")

Note: To enlarge the images in the slide show above simply click on them.

Senior Projects Week 2016- Students Teach the Community


Week of March 7-11, 2016

All presentations in the CWS Auditorium / 1300 W. Loyola Avenue  (Map It)

The Waldorf High School seniors, as part of the culmination of their studies, take on the mantle of educators by becoming teachers to the community. Having worked all year on a self-selected topic, the seniors present their specialized knowledge, research and writing to the assembled public for discussion. Parents, friends & guests: members of the public are warmly invited to attend! Presentations will proceed without pause, so please come at the beginning of each morning & afternoon, or evening session.


                    Welcome & Opening Remarks

10:00 am   Dylan Kulik- Aquaponics: Farming in Symbiosis (grades 3 & up)            

                    Chris Richards- Cartoon Creation (grades 7 & up)

                    Liza Kahn- Understanding Beauty: An Exploration Across Four Cultures (grades 7 & up)

                                — Lunch Break —

1:30 pm     Graham Heavenrich- ThemMixesGood: Creating a Musical Presence Online (grades 8 & up)

                    Maddy Byrne- From Street to Gallery: Graffiti and Street Art (grades 7 & up)




10:00 am     Madeline Franklin- The Evolution of Video Games (grades 6 & up)         

                     Shannon Sullivan- Without a Conscience: A Closer Look at Psychopathy (grades 8 & up)

                     Taylor Jones- reCycling (grades 3 & up)

                                — Lunch Break —

1:30 pm      Guthrie Gates- Music in Media: The Art of Scoring Films (grades 4 & up)

                      Kyra Gleason- The Human-Canine Bond (grades. 9 & up)




10:00 am     Maddie Kelson- American Songwriters (grades 4 & up)   

                      Conor Sullivan- Secret Soldiers: The Study of America’s Most Elite Spec-ops Unit (grades 5 & up)

                      Juliet Kelson- How To Make A Penny In The Music Business (grades 7 & up)

                                — Lunch Break —

1:30 pm       Samuel Liss- The Psychology of Deception (grades 7 & up)

                      Delphine Lazar- Uncensored: Adolescence As A Solitary Act (grades 11 & up)

6:30              All High School Parent Evening




10:00 am      Grace White- The Spirituality of Eastern vs. Western Medicine (grades 5 & up)         

                       Siubhan Stormont- Movie Makeup: The Art of Transformation (grades 3 & up)

                       Alfred Phillippe Collins- Bauhaus and Its Influence on My Design (grades 5 & up)

                                — Lunch Break —

1:30 pm       Nikolai Gorman- Relativity: Understanding the Universe (grades 6 & up)

                      Paul Bonaccorsi- My Story: A Journey in Pictures (grade 12 only)




2:00 pm      Tan Vasikachart- Kohn, Commedia dell’arte and Me  (grades 1 & up)              

                     Max Renton- Calder’s Universe: Changing the Face of Sculpture (grades 9 & up)

                     Silvia Sukenic- Autism Spectrum Disorder: Burden and Blessing (grades 7 & up)

                                — Dinner Break —

6:00 pm     Emina Music- Bosnia: Peace By Piece (grades 7 & up)

                    Nick Leonard- Don’t Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before: A Guide to Narrative and Linguistic Adaptation (grades 7 & up)

8:00          Closing

Above: The Class of 2015 Seniors at the conclusion of last year's Senior Projects Week

Malaysian Education Dignitaries on a National Tour visit CWS

Colleen Everhart, CWS College Chair; Luke Goodwin, CWS Administrative Director; Muhammad Hana Pizi Abdullah, Chief Imam, State Government of Kelantan; Shaipolbahari Salleh, Assistant Registrar, Institute Al Quran, Terengganu; Surraya Abu Bakar, Deputy Principal, Adni Islamic School, Kuala Lumpur; Salmy Gheblawi, Translator, US Dept. of State

In the exchange of ideas about human learning and child development, Waldorf Schools benefit from an international presence in countries across the world. Waldorf schools embody a global perspective founded on universal human capacities strengthened by the diversity of communities and cultures who embrace the "Waldorf way" in education.

I like Chicago Waldorf School's focus on creativity in education. Teachers and students have the freedom to engage in creative activities and they are not stressed out.   -Muhammad Hana Pizi Abdullah, Chief Imam

This past December a US Department of State sponsored delegation of Malaysian educators asked to visit Chicago Waldorf School to study our programs and discuss administrative and pedagogical practices with CWS leaders. We hosted a panel discussion with the Chief Imam from the State Government of Kelantan, the Deputy Headmistress of Sekolah Islam Adni and the Assistant Registrar of Institute Al-Quran. After a spirited exchange of cultural inquiry, sharing perspectives and discussions of best practices for administrative and pedagogical goals the delegation expressed interest in pursuing further study of the various Waldorf Schools currently established in Malaysia. We bid them farewell as they continued their tour of American cities and schools. A few days later, after they had continued on to Los Angeles and reflected on their visit to CWS, the delegates generously shared with us some of their observations about our school. 

Shaipolbahari Salleh, Assistant Registrar, Institute Al Quran, in Terengganu said, "I am impressed with this school because it is not exam-oriented. The curriculum encourages students to be independent learners. I find it remarkable that the students can create their own portfolio and that they do not use textbooks in class. It also shows that they understand the subject that they are learning and that it is not rote memorization."  His analysis of the Waldorf approach reflects a shared understanding of the goal to activate a student's passion for inquiry. This child-focused approach was also detailed by Ms. Surayya Abu Bakar, who commented that a strength of the Chicago Waldorf School is it's,

...emphasis on developing the child as a human being; less concerned with testing, but more about what they know and how they apply it, which is reflected in the portfolios they produce. Even though the focus is on play and creativity, at the end of the day, the students excel at their core subjects.  - Surraya Abu Bakar, Deputy Principal, Adni Islamic School, Kuala Lumpur


Sandwiched between largely Buddhist Thailand, predominantly Muslim Indonesia, Hindu India and the predominantly Catholic Philippines, Malaysia is a nation that historically was subject to different religious and cultural influences, but retained its own strong identity. Although there are many old and new external influences within the country, its culturally diverse society is striving for its own way, and investing in preparing their children for the future.

Malaysian parents have met Waldorf Education with keen interest. Private institutions are frequently attended during early school age, and Waldorf kindergartens are very attractive option because they teach in several languages, have collaborative interaction as a key principle, avoid the strict state curriculum - which is mandatory from kindergarten onwards - and offer a child age-appropriate education.

The Malaysian Waldorf Movement began by the end of the 1990’s. In 1997, Junko Suzumoto and Ong Kung Wai established the first Waldorf initiative, Nania, in Penang. Through the support of the Friends of Waldorf Education this initiative grew steadily in Malaysia over the years.  Expatriate families dominated early enrollment, but from 2002 onwards, interest from Malaysian parents increased. In 2004, another initiative, Taska Lin, was established in Penang. In 2008, the third initiative, Kelip-kelip, was established in Klang Valley, in the vicinity of Kuala Lumpur. And interest in play oriented pre-school education is growing. Several initiatives have emerged, some new, some incorporating Waldorf methods to their existing system.

took its name from the “Narnia” stories by C. S. Lewis. Like ‘Narnia’, Junko Suzumoto wants Nania to be a place children want to visit and return to again and again; to be a school where they encounter self-development challenges and experiences that prepare them for their life's journey. The enrollment of local and foreign children, with multi-ethnic and various national and cultural backgrounds posed a challenge at the beginning. What is fitting and relevant for all? So the school adopted festivals from different cultures to facilitate nurturing moods and to establish seasonal rhythms. These festivals are celebrated as cultural events without religious overtones. By 2012 Nania reported operating at full enrollment of 52 children with a yearlong waiting list.

Another home-kindergarten project called Taska Lin is also located in Penang and was founded by Lee Swee Lin and her husband Yang. Lin got to know Waldorf Education 15 years ago through Junko Suzumoto.  Her visit to Nania was so touching that Lin chose to be an assistant teacher, instead of selecting a more commercial job. In 2000 Lin took up study at Melbourne Rudolf Steiner Teacher Training College. Taska Lin, has enrolled 38 children from age 1-1/2 to 4-1/2 years. The children are from expatriate families from different countries and about 20% are Malaysian. At Taska Lin, the children play and sing in Malay, Mandarin and Japanese, as well as in English. During Family Day at a public indoor playground other visitors with young kids are often impressed with Taska Lin’s children for being so confident and playing well together.

Klang Valley, located in the vicinity of Kuala Lumpur, is the centre of the Malaysian Waldorf movement. It all began with Kelip-kelip in 2008, when the founders and married couple Da Vid and Wan Yee, graduates from Melbourne Rudolf Steiner Seminar, started out with 10 children. This all lead up to early 2011, when Da Vid started Kelip-kelip Waldorf School, the first Waldorf school in Malaysia. Kelip-kelip quickly outgrew it's facility and needed a bigger location to accommodate the children wishing to enroll. A supportive parent purchased land to build a new school. And there is a plan for the new school, to initially be built with six classrooms. Fortunately there is hope for Kelip-kelip's growth, as the interest in Waldorf education increases among the school’s community.

Two years after Kelip-kelip, two other Waldorf kindergartens started up in Klang Valley, as well as a Waldorf doll making class. In Malaysia, Waldorf education is still in an early stage of development. However the founders of Waldorf education in Malaysia believe they are on the right path, doing the best thing for the children, for society, and for the world through Waldorf education.

As reported by Ong Kung Wai,
founder of Nania Waldorf Kindergarten
Malaysian photos/historical content edited from Waldorf Worldwide.


“Teacher-Driven” Waldorf Education is Featured in the News

Teaching the Whole Child: Waldorf Schools and Exemplary Teacher Engagement

By author and student success expert, Carol J. Carter
Source article posted: 12/2/2015


Waldorf schools take an unconventionally nurturing approach to learning, making them a unique approach to education. Initially, some viewed the schools as emphasizing play over learning, but now a growing number recognize that the Waldorf model supports educational and personal habits which often go overlooked and under-appreciated in traditional schooling.

Following from a philosophy that attends to the development of human behavior, Waldorf schools help students learn and grow through uniting mind and body. Fashioned by Rudolf Steiner in 1919, the Waldorf education is one that focuses on the individual student's strengths rather than catering to a large group and assuming that all students learn in the same way.


Teachers are the main source of strength in Waldorf schools.

With a heavy focus on the importance of hands-on experience for their students, rather than standardized testing, Waldorf teachers help their students to explore curricula through diverse activities, with plenty of room to customize lesson plans. The fluidity of this approach provides extensive engagement that leads to lifelong connections with the material taught, the teachers involved and the bigger questions at the heart of each subject.

According to the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA), Waldorf schools are highly attuned to the quest to establish each child's own level of academic excellence. The International Conference on Education of the United Nations Educational and Scientific Cultural Organization endorses the Waldorf method, saying it "places the development of the individual child in the focal point, convinced that the healthy individual is a prerequisite for a healthy society."

With this mindset, Waldorf schools and educators encourage their pupils to truly thrive in a healthy environment where their opinions and differences are respected rather than stifled or rejected.


“Waldorf education...places the development of the individual child in the focal point, convinced that the healthy individual is a prerequisite for a healthy society.”   – United Nations, E.&S.C.O.


A distinction of Waldorf teachers is their passion for individuality and commitment to nurturing the individual student's mind.

This philosophy also deems the relationship between Waldorf teachers and their students very much akin to that between mentors and mentees, so that involvement extends beyond the classroom.

Jeff Moore, a past Waldorf educator at the Mountain Laurel Waldorf School in New Paltz, NY, stuck with his small class through the foundational year of first grade all the way until eighth grade graduation....Since he taught the class all of the primary subjects (with the exception of foreign languages), he fostered a connection with his students that paved the way for lifelong mentorship and mutual respect. "One of the great strengths of Waldorf education is, I feel, its use of story to communicate the lesson," Moore says. He adds, "this is most evident in the earlier years of the pedagogy, when Grimm's Fairy Tales, Aesop's fables and a variety of legends and mythologies from around the world become a vehicle for presenting ideas and concepts in a living way."

Moore says his experience at Mountain Laurel is one that cannot be described briefly. The school was powerful for him and for his class due to the depths of creativity: "it requires a good deal of creative flexibility on the teacher's part, but the result is seen in the smiles and even the [open-mouthed], sometimes awestruck faces of the children during the lesson. The material resonates on deep levels. I would need several pages to begin to do justice to my experience at the school."

The effect of such educators as Moore leaves a significant mark on the future education and life choices of students.

Remy Baglieri, a Mountain Laurel graduate in 2008 and a former student of Moore's, has only positive and appreciative things to say about Moore and her Waldorf education. "Many people I know have told me they don't remember their elementary school teacher. Luckily, I don't think I myself (or anyone) could forget Jeff Moore as an educator," Baglieri says. "In a Waldorf environment, learning is expected to come naturally, and each pupil is given their own time to digest all of the knowledge. Mr. Moore knew this and followed a lesson plan, but would also interweave his love of art, stories and personal experiences in every school day. He made learning -- dare I say it -- enjoyable. He guided us in our own understanding on what it means to learn, grow and become thoughtful human beings. I don't know a man that could raise 12 kids for 8 years, but I'm extremely grateful that Jeff stuck it out for that long. I wouldn't be the person I am today if he hadn't," she adds.

Although the Waldorf approach to education has expanded to great lengths,especially in Europe,

there are some who question the seemingly test-less teaching approach. Because Steiner's philosophy incorporates the most profound understanding of human development, it can be difficult for conventional thinkers to accept the ways in which Waldorf directs students away from the standardized testing train that consumes much of K-12 education. However, according to the AWSNA, a staggering 94 percent of Waldorf graduates attend college, 89 percent expresses great satisfaction with career choices, and 90 percent place high value on the importance of tolerance of other viewpoints.

With bright, capable students and teachers wholly committed to what occurs in the classroom

and after, the Waldorf model flourishes. The immense quality of thinking and roundedness that comes from a Waldorf education is vital to today's society.  ---


Article source: The Education Blog on the Huffington Post
Photo source: Images of Chicago Waldorf School students

Read more articles about Waldorf Education at

Halloween Reveals a Variety of Characters at CWS

Observed this past week at the CWS Halloween Assembly:

Enjoy this slide show of some of the costumes on display.

The students in first through eighth grades presented poems, songs and skits to the assembled community in this fun day of dressing up that explored thematic topics from the curriculum.

The auditorium became a giant menagerie. Odin, the "All Father," welcomed guests and introduced the assembly while other Norse Gods sat next to Political Candidates intermingled with animals of all stripes; the Bumble Bees from the Botany curriculum mixed it up with Shiva and other Gods from Eastern cultures. Roman centurions hailed Greek Maidens from across seated rows.

Meanwhile the seventh grade enacted multiple tableaus presenting Aesops Fairy Tales to the Early Child classes in the side yard. And throughout the day classes visited the sixth grade classroom--which it is rumored is haunted--and oftentimes bizarre events have been known to occur there on this unique day. Great fun brought the whole school together on this day.

Did you manage to see some of these characters around school last week?

To see enlargements, click on the image first then use the arrows on the left and right edges to navigate the slide show.

The Negative Effect of Increasingly Plugged-In Kids

A continuing stream of clinical studies and experts are finding detrimental effects on kids who are exposed to ever increasing amounts of screen time. Below is an excerpt from an article published in the New York Times on July 6, 2015 that can be found in the "Personal Health" Section.


Screen Addiction Is Taking a Toll on Children

Excessive use of computer games among young people in China appears to be taking an alarming turn and may have particular relevance for American parents whose children spend many hours a day focused on electronic screens. The documentary “Web Junkie,” to be shown next Monday on PBS, highlights the tragic effects on teenagers who become hooked on video games, playing for dozens of hours at a time often without breaks to eat, sleep or even use the bathroom. Many come to view the real world as fake.

Chinese doctors consider this phenomenon a clinical disorder and have established rehabilitation centers where afflicted youngsters are confined for months of sometimes draconian therapy, completely isolated from all media, the effectiveness of which remains to be demonstrated.

While Internet addiction is not yet considered a clinical diagnosis here, there’s no question that American youths are plugged in and tuned out of “live” action for many more hours of the day than experts consider healthy for normal development. And it starts early, often with preverbal toddlers handed their parents’ cellphones and tablets to entertain themselves when they should be observing the world around them and interacting with their caregivers.

In its 2013 policy statement on “Children, Adolescents, and the Media,” the American Academy of Pediatrics cited these shocking statistics from a Kaiser Family Foundation study in 2010: “The average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children and teenagers spend more than 11 hours per day.” Television, long a popular “babysitter,” remains the dominant medium, but computers, tablets and cellphones are gradually taking over.

“Many parents seem to have few rules about use of media by their children and adolescents,”

the academy stated, and two-thirds of those questioned in the Kaiser study said their parents had no rules about how much time the youngsters spent with media.

Parents, grateful for ways to calm disruptive children and keep them from interrupting their own screen activities, seem to be unaware of the potential harm from so much time spent in the virtual world.

“We’re throwing screens at children all day long, giving them distractions rather than teaching them how to self-soothe, to calm themselves down,” said Catherine Steiner-Adair, a Harvard-affiliated clinical psychologist and author...(continue reading the article at its source)

by Jane E. Brody, for the New York Times - July 6-2015


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