We all know how pervasive video games are in our children’s lives, but what most people don’t know is the profound negative and lasting effects they have on a growing brain. This report is based on Dr Dunckley’s experience with several hundred pediatric and young adult patients on- and off- video games: what symptoms occur due to gaming and other screen-time activities, how damage occurs over time, what systems are affected, and what happens to your child’s nervous system during and after an “electronic fast.” This, combined with compiling the research, makes for a very compelling argument that video games, computer, texting etc can cause short and long-term negative effects.
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Today, many children are misdiagnosed, for example as ‘bipolar’ or ‘ADHD’, if they have meltdowns or trouble focusing. Even more disturbing, some of these children are put on psychotropic medication unnecessarily, when the real culprit is over-stimulation from electronics. Parents should first educate themselves on the effects of electronic screen media, then consider taking a solid three to four week break–an electronic fast– if their child is having any problems at home, in school, or with peers.
But how does one do this, in this day and age? First, you, the parent, must be convinced yourself that it’s worth it. You must learn what happens in the eyes, brain, and body during gaming or other electronic media stimulation to cause dysregulation of mood and arousal levels. Dr. Dunckley’s program explains the behind-the-scenes action in simple terms with lots of examples. Then, to be fully committed, you need to learn about the potential benefits of the electronic fast:
- Better compliance, e.g. being told to do a chore or get ready for bed.
- Smoother homework time- more gets done with fewer tears and tantrums.
- Improved reading and math skills*
- Improved attention**
- Better quality sleep, due to both sleep “signals” and body clock being reset.***
- Better frustration tolerance, fewer meltdowns, less aggression****
- Less irritability, depression, and agitation.
Lastly, you need to know how to implement it. This is the tough part! Parents get overwhelmed with the just the thought of telling their child. Dr Dunckley’s program specifically addresses this issue, and provides practical tools to help you and your child succeed.
This is a preview to Dr Dunckley’s 4 week “Save Your Child’s Brain” teleseminar program, which is being developed to help support parents in what may seem to be a daunting task. “The hardest part for me as a clinician is helping the parent who resists. It’s either because they’re not convinced of the video games’ impact, because they feel it’s too difficult, if not impossible to implement in today’s world, or because they feel they’d be giving up precious moments of peace and quiet,” Dr Dunckley states. “The program will address these concerns and helps the parent take it day-by-day, learning as they go.”