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“Alone Together” – Entertaining Symposium About Dangers of Addiction to Devices and Social Media

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Collin Kartchner speaking to parents on dangers of social media for children.

On August 14th at CAPPS Auditorium we welcomed speakers, Collin Kartchner and Katey McPherson who delivered a very strong message to parents tonight about the dangers of device overuse and how it has changed behavior patterns.

 

The message is very serious but it was balanced with entertainment and lightheartedness. Collin is from Salt Lake City, a dedicated social internet crusader calling his movement “Save The Kids” (#Save the Parents). Katey is from Phoenix, she is an educational consultant and speaker and has over 23 years as a school leader. She is the mother of four teenage daughters. Together they presented a dynamic show packed with information about what is happening to our children and parents with the excessive use of our devices and social media today.

 

 Collin reminds us that we are the first generation dealing with all of this and describes the state of things as a “mucky and scary world today”. He is a family man with four children and a wife he adores. He says he does this because he loves kids. He recommended the book “Glow Kids” by Nicholas Kardaras Ph.D, about how screen addiction is hijacking our kids and how to break the trance.

 

A highlight of the evening was guest singer Evie Clair, the beautiful 14 year old singer described as the voice of an angel.

Singer Evie Claire

She appeared on America’s Got Talent Season 12 in 2017 and was one of the finalists. She was having some issues with sound on stage so just sat down at the piano and sang into the microphone one of her uplifting beautiful songs before the program started.  

 

Collin and Katey explained the brains of pre-teens and teens are only half developed and they are so young and impressionable. Dealing with things such as porn and bullying and the extreme stimulation they get from playing video games for hours a day is creating digital addiction. A very interesting fact is that the female brain matures around the age of 22 while the male brain matures around age 28. This part of the brain is the Orbital Frontal Cortex and is under developed until these ages. So our children are watching all this with an under developed brain without the coping skills developed later.

 

Anything can be found on Instagram Explore Page and is considered the worst for teen mental health. A campaign to stop using Snap chat called “Snap Chat is the Devil” began in 2011 and last month they lost three million users!

Program

Digital addiction is an addiction like drugs and alcohol, but far more serious, and we are just now learning how to deal with it in a psychologically healthy way. When parents so suddenly take away devices as an act of punishment, it can create extreme anxiety, depression, suicidal attempts and actual suicide. Suicide rates for teen boys and girls has been steadily rising since 2007. There are sites where they use musical videos showing how to cut themselves and to be anorexic. They show our kids how to harm themselves. They are in emotional distress and using self-harm as a coping mechanism. As Collin reminds us we need to treat them with “love, and no shaming”. Today the average use time of devices in the U.S.A. is 9.5 hours to 12.5 hours. Our children are up at 2am and 3am when we think they are sleeping. Parents are at fault also. There are household monitoring devices available now that can be installed in the home shutting down device use at specific programmed times. In Katey’s words this epidemic is “stealing their joy”. Katey McPherson has written books teaching practical strategies on how to deal with this problem at home and how we can monitor use time. She says we need to, “Lead with technology and not let it lead us”. Today her focus is primarily on these important issues because of a horrific incident at her school one day when a student attempted suicide because her phone was taken away by her parents. She stresses the importance of how we handle our children and says they need to be, “Seen, heard and loved at home”. She reminds us that these are our children and we have the right to check their phones and be able to log in with passwords. She teaches the four characters of healthy child development: Nature, Movement, Physical Touch (the 8 second hug), and Connection. She stressed how important it is to not just yank their devices because they have to have a replacement. It reminded me of raising our children when they were just crawling around and found something they should not have and we took it away and they cried but we put a toy in their hand we knew they would accept. She says we have to remember it is a computer not a phone anymore and is being used in many inappropriate ways with selfies and all the techniques of perfecting and changing how we actually look. Our youth are asking for plastic surgery so they can look perfect. One of the strongest statements tonight I hope made an impact  was when Katey said, “All experiences do not need to be documented”.  Being present and listening and hugging and using family time to connect is a healthy start in bringing us back together.

 

This evening was packed with critical information about being aware of how dangerous social media is to our children. The training has to come from us.

 

She suggested a method of handling your child when you remove their devices and they are having a melt down in front of you. This clearly explains psychologically what is happening to their bodies. While they are actively engaged in social media and we  abruptly remove their device, dopamine is dumping in the brain and they are on a high. Katey says to give them water and get them moving and in about 20 minutes with water they will begin to cope with the change.

 

This is a site you might find useful and you can go there daily: smartsocial.com and they have daily updates and courses parents can take for a small fee. There is a lot of help out there to help us all reconnect and now is the time because it appears to be a dopamine runaway train.

 

 Collin and Katey have scheduled 20 cities in Arizona and Utah and we were #7. We greatly appreciated them addressing these serious issues in their friendly and entertaining way and stating the facts to all of the parents and grandparents tonight. They offered positive techniques and information on how to handle this critical social  condition and are available for continued help through their websites and books.

 

We thank Maddy Crandell for asking Ron Tenney if they would be interested in scheduling this program. He quickly said ‘yes’ and the wheels were in motion. Maddy Crandell is a stay at home Mom and the mother of five. Her oldest is in first grade. Thank you, Maddy, for spreading awareness and working so diligently on this event. The list is long for all the community businesses who donated money to bring this program to our area. Our community really stepped up for a very worthy cause – our youth.