Doctor Asks, Do You Have the Parenting Skills to Prevent iPad Addiction?

[] Wilmette, Illinois – Dr. S, eminent psychiatrist and media specialist, today continued his public health campaign: 1) alerting parents to the dangers of unsupervised use of iPads by kids; and 2) urging the embedding of media management in family life starting at the youngest age possible. Citing a recent headline on April 23rd in The NY Daily News, “Hooked on the iPad: Technology Addiction Affects Children as Young as 4, Experts Say,” Dr. S restated his message that touchscreen devices, with their irresistible interactivity, lights, colors, and sounds can potentially pose serious dangers to the mental health and cognitive development of children. He cautioned, “Parents who just hand the iPad to youngsters are asking for trouble, because kids seem wired to love and follow the iPad iPiper, like many eager adults.”

Dr. S is confident that preventing iPad addiction and overconsumption of media is well within the skills of modern parents. Recognizing that their children’s iPad use requires supervision is the essential first step. According to Dr. S, “Parents need to see the issues inherent in the kid-tech encounter more clearly against a backdrop of child development and brain maturation. They need to believe they can be effective. Then they need to adopt a sensible, systematic and rational system of thinking, much as they do for meal planning, not merely relying on antiquated rules or piecemeal advice. This is not the same as policing, but additionally calls for providing healthy, growth promoting content. Professionals can help parents by providing convenient ‘white lists’ of vetted content in a technologically protected ‘sandbox.'”

In practical terms, Dr. S offers the following advice:

* “Interactive technology belongs in children’s lives only if it is balanced in appropriate content and time spent with healthy activities and customized for each child’s needs. Parents must prevent excessive, sedentary, lone media consumption by youngsters and favor face to face time and physical play.”

* “Be ready to invest extra effort. Paradoxically, technology is not necessarily convenient, but adds to the challenges of parenting, and is not the ideal, convenient babysitter so many parents relish. Keeping kids busy is not necessarily good parenting.”

* “Your own attitudes towards media may be obstacles to good example-setting. Parents may already be biased: the same candy-colored, magically engaging, sleekly enticing computing machines invented by our wonderful, most talented, brilliant cultural icons have, admittedly, already seduced many into a dependency. Awareness, self-monitoring, and discipline are hard to maintain.”

* “Children need us to remember they are our children. Technology does not relieve us of our duty to kids. They need us to stay in control (or take it back), as we return to sound child rearing principles in all areas of their lives, including the massive area of media consumption. And the younger they are, the more they need our caregiving to focus in this area.”

Dr. S is Eitan Schwarz MD, who is board certified in both General and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. For over 40 years in practice face to face with kids and families, he is on the faculty of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, and he is a recognized expert in consumption of media by children and families and digital media in play therapy. In 2010, Dr. Schwarz published his “Kids, Parents, and Technology: A Guide for Young Families” and recently invented ZillyDilly for iPad, to transform the book’s concepts into working tools for parents and teachers managing kids’ media.

Device Requirements:
* Compatible with iPad
* Requires iOS 5.1 or later
* 0.7 MB

Pricing and Availability:
ZillyDilly for iPad 2.3 is $3.99 (USD) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Education category. Review copies are available on request.My Digital Family
ZillyDilly 2.3
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MyDigitalFamily, Ltd. in Wilmette, Illinois was founded in 2012 as a bootstrap startup by Eitan D. Schwarz MD, DLFAPA, FAACAP, aligning technology to benefit kids and families and empower and educate parents to teach children good media consumption habits. ZillyDilly is their first product in an area currently in chaos. Dr. S (R) continues in his 42nd year of practicing child, family and adolescent psychiatry. He is double-boarded, an author, a member of the faculty at Northwestern University Medical School, and an expert and researcher in kids’ media consumption. Copyright (C) 2012-2013 MyDigitalFamily, Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPad and iPod are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other trademarks and registered trademarks may be the property of their respective owners.

###Eitan Schwarz MD
United States
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