Counselor’s Corner: Is Your Child Addicted to Technology?

As we begin 2018, many of us create New Year’s resolutions as a way of promoting healthier lifestyles. Resolutions usually fall under the categories of losing weight, getting in shape, or having a more positive outlook on life. Some of us may wish to examine how technology encompasses too much valuable time in our lives and resolve to make healthier choices around social media usage for ourselves and our children.

At Fairmont, we often talk to our students about finding a balance between educational commitments and playtime. Students work hard at school, so during their “down time” many gravitate toward idle time on their tablets or smartphones. Social media and gaming are huge parts of our preteens’ and teens’ lives, and parents can struggle with setting standards for their children when it comes to time focused on technology.

It can be challenging for parents to know when technology is beneficial and when it starts to become an out-of-control addiction. Tweens and teens connect with friends through social media sites all of the time, and they feel cut off and deprived when devices are taken away. Parents need to acknowledge that computer activity is a problem when it interferes with family time and other important activities. Students feel bad about their behavior when they are sneaking phone use, and schoolwork may start to suffer as technology time becomes habitual and excessive. In one study, 43 percent of teens polled claimed they wish they were not so addicted to their phones.

Below are some tips to establish healthy screen time habits for your entire family for the new year:

  • Set limits, and lead by example. No phones at the dinner table. Allow for a little more screen time on the weekends.
  • Co-view and co-play: Engage with your child by playing an online game with him or her. Ask your child about the games he or she likes. You may enjoy them, too! Have an open mind, and make an effort to understand what is important to your child.
  • Treat technology as a tool, not only a treat. There are valuable reasons to use the internet. Weave that into “fun time” online.

You may uncover signs of addiction to gaming and the internet if your child:

  • Lies about time spent online
  • Uses gaming as an escape from problems or obligations
  • Finds social media has a negative impact on other areas of his or her life
  • Spends multiple hours every day online

Parents can seek out help at school through Fairmont counselors if they have concerns about online addiction. For most of us, though, technology and the internet can be easily balanced with home activities and used to enhance modern day life for your child and your entire family!

Have a happy new year! Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions at (714) 999-5055, ext. 1456.

Jill Thomas, LMFT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Fairmont Private Schools Counselor

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Shelby Wagner - 1st Grade Teacher Fairmont Historic AnaheimTop Teacher & Skating Champion
Shelby “My favorite part of being a teacher is the children I get to teach.”
  • Is one of the head teachers for the Fountain Valley Artistic Skating Club, teaching regional and national champions. She also teaches beginner classes every Saturday morning.
  • Every year, her students are amazed to find that their teacher has a life outside of the classroom.
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Keira Kamath - 5th Grade Fairmont Anaheim HillsScience & Tennis Superstar
keira “I like how there are so many different specialty classes at Fairmont Anaheim Hills, like art, music, PE, science lab, computer lab, and Spanish.”
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Nicholas Aghaian - 7th Grade Fairmont Historic AnaheimKicking His Way to Med School
nicolas“The teachers and the amount of support they provide to not only me, but to the whole entire community here at Fairmont is probably what I like most about attending Fairmont Historic Anaheim.”
  • He would like to be a professional soccer player, or a doctor specializing in the field of sports medicine.
  • Enjoys basketball, piano, and soccer pitch.
  • His favorite subject is math “because I like to be challenged, and math is full of challenges.”
Gianluca De Gregoris – 2nd Grade Fairmont North TustinDancing Toward Greatness
dancing"What I like most about Fairmont is that I get to learn and meet new friends.”
  • He wants to be a professional dancer when he grows up.
  • Is trained in ballet and ballroom dancing.
  • Loves writing and creating new stories.
Nicole Heyman - Kindergarten Teacher Fairmont Anaheim HillsLaying a Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Nicole "The best part about teaching at Fairmont is being able to work with a diverse group of students who are all incredibly talented. It is amazing to be able to challenge students at such a young age and watch these children grow throughout the year.”
  • Loves camping, reading, and traveling
  • Her students love learning random things about her – like the fact that when she was in kindergarten she wanted to be Spiderman when she grew up.
  • Her proudest moments are the times when a student on campus is excited to see her, oftentimes telling her that she’s “the best teacher in the world.” “I live for those moments.”
“I choose to teach at Fairmont because of the sense of community, as well as the drive for our students to succeed.”
DJ Clovis - Music Teacher Fairmont North TustinRunning to the Rhythm
DJ Clovis “I get to work with amazing staff, faculty, parents, and most importantly, students!”
  • Teaches music to all grades — from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Coaches (or has coached) football, basketball, and Run Club
  • Plays bass trombone
  • NJHS Conflict Resolution Coach
  • He has run 15 marathons and 4 ultra marathons.
“The best part of teaching at Fairmont is the autonomy — being able to create a program that fits all of my students. At Fairmont North Tustin, I get to help with a lot of different activities.”