Tom Barthel Consulting

A Personal Message From Me to You

Screen Time and My Strong Opinion:

I just got off the phone with a previous client. They mentioned to me that they yanked their teenager’s video game console away from the house Monday-Friday. There is no data plan on his phone and they have a parental block on the WiFi so he only has 2 hours a day of internet on his phone and cannot hide and play games in his room.Within a month, the young person reconnected to some friends, started leaving the house and getting active again. You should hear the parent describe their teen’s personality change after that. “It’s like he’s being a real teenage boy again” (short excerpt from the 10 minute spiel I received).I want you to consider what it is you see in the teenagers in your life. What is the quality of their engagement in other people and their electronic habits. Do you see teenagers with their face buried in cell phone or a TV screen?Never mind my strong opinions about video games, cell phone apps, and their horrible content. They are pretty strong and pretty negative opinions too.
Let’s just focus on the biology of dysfunction and how screen time can contribute to it.Our brain is the starting place for our nervous system, and our nervous system and brain rules our world. It generates our thoughts, generates our emotions and allows us to engage in the environment around us. We don’t think as freely as we think we do. We are actually reacting to everything that is programmed into our brain and nervous system. We are not as free to just feel what we like either. Our biology determines a lot (more than we suspect) of what we automatically think and feel, which leads to our automatic impulses and unconscious behaviours.
When a young person becomes dysfunctional, troubled, and starts to go downhill, it is not just because of bad luck, this generation’s poor rock n roll music, or magical forces of evil. It is because of his or hers nervous system and brain which are not happy.
Their brains and nervous systems are not processing life around them properly and is unable to provide the neurotransmitters and electro-chemical signals necessary for those teenagers to feel good when they are sober. Therefore the answer for many teens is to use drugs and alcohol and find other escapes.
Treat the biological brain and nervous system . Treat that young person’s life.
Harm the biological brain and nervous system, harm that young person’s life.
Every drug using teen, every mentally ill teen, every un-motivated teen, and every troubled teen I have ever met has a hurt biological brain and nervous system.

Read here.

Recovering from Electronic Screen Devices

An extremely strong statement about screen time:

I am not confused as to why our teens are facing the problems they do today. Mental illness, cutting and self harm, teen suicide, lethargy, drug addiction, inability to move out and pursue goals ambitiously, etc….

There are of course plenty of awful factors in our youth culture today contributing to this crisis. Lack of accountability, lack of adequate adult engagement, lack of sense of identity and cultural and family values, 

lack of leadership from adults, and of course there is social media preaching a completely unnatural view of the world.

The one I focus on today is screen time. The damage to the brain it causes and the gateway it serves for social media.

Screen time is awful.

What you can do next:

You as the parent have the cure. It is entirely under your control to set your child up with a real life and a real childhood and I believe you can do it. You can limit video games and electronic screen time in your home.
There are many strategies that can restrict internet use and screen time:
  • Installing software on everyone’s cell phone that limits the amount of time you can spend on it per day.
  • Modems that have hourly controls on them.
  • Making a paper contract outlining the rules for usage. Post it on the wall.
  • All the cellphones and tablets are turned into a box at 8:30pm and there are zero electronics available to a young person until 8am the next day. Just TV time with family or a book.
  • Some of these teens only see their phone between the hours of 3-6pm
  • Use good old fashion authority over your teenagers to absolutely control their access to screen time. Authority which is essential for preventing drug abuse and dysfunctional behavior anyways.
Many parents have already limited electronics for their children and set their children up for success with real life experiences. They are the parents with children who are thriving, skipping grades, starting businesses in high school, attending national science fairs, getting scholarships, and saving thousands of dollars up before they are 18.
I have recently seen anywhere from $4000-$10,000 saved up from teenagers with employment. At 17 years old, one teenager in Red Deer I know paid for her own mission trip that lasted over a year, a $10,000 expense. Now that teen will buy a car for herself.
How would it feel for you to see your teenager buying a car for themselves? How would it feel for your if your teenager saved up $10,000 from their own employment?
Would it feel like you as a parent were getting something right?
Dramatically cut down screen time, put your teen on a screen time budget, and engage them in the outside world properly. You will be able to see the difference this makes in short order.
Email me now and tell me a quick story about electronic use in your home,
or in another home that you know of

Tell me about some extremes that you have seen. Tell me about some

solutions that you have seen other parents put in use.