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Screen time is as addictive as junk food – how do we wean children off? | Belinda Parmar

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October 12, 2020 at 03:45PM

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Social media addiction isn’t a failure of parenting. It’s a feature of the tech industry

“Chill out, Mum, you’re overreacting. Watching TV is just as bad,” my daughter yells as I beg her and her brother to put down their devices for just five minutes. My daughter can see me getting agitated and gives me the “you are a loser” eye-roll that all 12-year-olds seem to master.

I’m trying to convince her that mindlessly scrolling Instagram for hours is not good for her. I explain that unlimited social media is dangerous – a bit like being able to have as many Big Macs as you like, at any time you want: you end up feeling sick and empty inside. In the same way my daughter is mindful of what food she puts in her body, I want her to be mindful of what she feeds her brain. I call it “junk tech”. No brain required.

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