Digital Media – Effects on the Developing Brain

by Dr. Karen Ruskin on May 21, 2018

Keynote Dr. Karen Ruskin at Foxborough Regional Charter School

This weekend I had the pleasure of being the keynote speaker for the Foxborough Regional Charter School’s annual Family Engagement Conference – Parenting in the 21st Century. My keynote: Digital Media – the effects on the developing brain.

My intent for this keynote was to provide the most up to date research, as well as real life practical tips. Thus resulting in parents feeling both informed and empowered to make the best choices for their family in creating a healthy digital media plan (AKA screen time plan), for their children and family.

A few of the topics I addressed included:  

  • From distraction to addiction
  • Digital media addiction
  • The effects of digital media on the brain (neuroplasticity, neural pruning, creating problematic symptoms due to living in the cyber world, social skills, anxiety, self esteem, depression, concentration, attention, focus, memory, behavior, mood, communication skills,…).
  • The effects of digital media on the body
  • Tech jumping/unrelated screen jumping, AKA digital multi-tasking
  • Quantity vs. quality of digital media
  • Life outside of cyber world (family time, physical activity, socialization, parents role in creating activities,…)
  • Conscious, mindful decisions about digital media
  • Digital media is here to stay, and is a needed skill. Being in control of digital media vs. digital media in control of your kids
  • Video games, attention seeking selfies, social media, watching the lives of others vs. living your own life,…
  • Boys vs. girls
  • Healthy relationship with digital media/what’s your kids’ digital media diet?
  • Parent role modeling, avoid distracted parenting symptom
  • Plan for each age and stage of children’s lives: digital media management
  • How you help your children create a digital media plan matters
  • Strategy for making a shift in one’s life including: releasing anxiety and ending digital media addiction

Post the keynote speech it was deeply moving to me to have mini break-out sessions with those parents who desired to share with me their personal situation and ask me their questions. Providing concrete tips and strategies tailored to their children and family was meaningful.

A huge thank you to the Foxborough Regional Charter School’s Family Engagement Coordinator Karen Harris, who made this happen. As well as a shout out to communication specialist Amanda Mathias (thanks for taking pictures), and the rest of the FRCS team who worked hard to make this a success. Till next time…

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