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Tag Archive for: Technology

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Technology – Why it’s Important to Unplug

Our relationships with our smartphones and other devices are bittersweet.  Though these devices seem to enrich our lives in many ways, they also have created numerous problems for our mental and physical health.  Excessive use of technology can lead to serious health problems including addiction, vision difficulties, sleep disturbances and more.  It’s important to try to be mindful of our technology use in order to avoid dependencies.  Check out this infographic, created by Psychologist Barbara Markway, with some great tips to help you unplug regularly for the sake of your health.

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How Technology is Ruining Your Good Night’s Sleep

Did you know that the use of technology, even having a television on in the bedroom, can disturb the amount and quality of sleep you achieve?  Could our reliance on devices be part of the reason one third of the Canadian population isn’t getting enough sleep?  Learn more about the effects of technology on your sleep in the following from the Sleep Help Institute.

Sleep Help Institute:  How Technology Impacts Your Sleep and What to do About it

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Better Health: Is There an App For That?

At this time of year people are focused on finding ways to improve their health and well-being.  A great way to facilitate this is through the use of technology, specifically helpful apps.  The App Store and Google Play Store feature thousands of apps for health, weight loss, smoking cessation, disease management and more, but how do you know which ones will actually help you reach your goals?  Take a look at the following from MedScape which provides rankings of the top clinically rated apps for both health and wellness and condition management and try one today!

MedScape:  Healthcare Apps to Recommend to Patients

Have you found an app that has helped you improve your health?  Please comment — we’d love to know what has and hasn’t worked for you!

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Tech Support: Learning Made Simple

In the digital age we live in if you are not fluent with the latest technology you can get left behind or struggle to keep up if you don’t know how to use it.  Those with cognitive difficulties and older adults who do not frequently use technology may find themselves needing some extra assistance to learn to use helpful apps and software.  Our colleagues at Lawlor Therapy Services have launched a series, Tuesday Tech Tips, providing how-to videos on some of the most frequently used and helpful pieces of technology.  If you could benefit from extra assistance maximizing the use of your computer, tablet or smart phone, this series is for you!

Lawlor Therapy Services:  Tuesday Tech Tips Series

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Nomophobia – Can You Disconnect?

A recent survey conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has identified that 19% of adults in Ontario suffer from moderate to severe problematic use of electronic devices.  What makes the use problematic?   Take a look at the following from the CAMH to learn more and to see if you have trouble disconnecting.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health:  Nearly one in five young Ontario adults shows problematic use of electronic devices

Trouble getting the kids to power down?  Try our free printable Technology Pass.

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Too Much Screen Time? We’ve Got Solutions!

Child psychologists and occupational therapists are finding that screen time is stunting the emotional development of children. Children are not learning strategies to self-regulate behavior since they are constantly masking their emotional problems with distracting games.  Along with this expensive self-regulating strategy comes delayed development in language and social skills, poor sleep patterns, and poorer performance in school. And, what about the temper tantrum that erupts when the tablet battery dies halfway to Grandma’s?

The Canadian Paediatric Association recommends no more than 2 hours of screen time for children a day.  A recent survey showed that children in grade 6-12 spend on average 8 hours a day in front of a screen. Another study showed that one in three children are using tablets before they can even talk. Screen time is becoming a serious addiction for our children’s generation and is associated with poor health related outcomes.

We encourage you to use our FREE TECHNOLOGY PASS  printable to help get a handle on too much tech time in your home.  Simply print, laminate and use each time your child is asking for screen or tech time.  Have a conversation with your child about why you are using this tool, discuss a fair limit and get a commitment from your child.

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Check out our post The Detriments of Screen Time and a FREE Technology Pass to learn more about the negative impacts and find strategies on how to limit tech time.

 

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The Detriments of Screen Time and a FREE “Technology Pass”

Co-written with Brittany So, Occupational Therapist

I was at a school Open House when I saw a mother calm her whining and crying 18 month old child with an iPad.  Astonishingly, he knew how to swipe it on, enter the password and manage the menus.  He launched a game and sat on the floor completely immersed in his game and oblivious to the parents and kids needing to step over him.  Was he just brilliant to manage an iPad like this from such a young age (is there a toddler iPad Olympics?), or perhaps he spends a bit too much time being pacified by technology?  I think the latter.

The sad reality is that more and more parents are using tablets as a calming mechanism for their children because it seems to work so effectively in the moment. However, professionals are now concerned about the serious long-term effects of constantly handing over a device to a child in exchange for, as Mr. Costanza puts it, “serenity now”.

Child psychologists and occupational therapists are finding that screen time is stunting the emotional development of children. Children are not learning strategies to self-regulate behavior since they are constantly masking their emotional problems with distracting games.  Along with this expensive self-regulating strategy comes delayed development in language and social skills, poor sleep patterns, and poorer performance in school. And, what about the temper tantrum that erupts when the tablet battery dies halfway to Grandma’s?

The Canadian Paediatric Association recommends no more than 2 hours of screen time for children a day.  A recent survey showed that children in grade 6-12 spend on average 8 hours a day in front of a screen. Another study showed that one in three children are using tablets before they can even talk. Screen time is becoming a serious addiction for our children’s generation and is associated with poor health related outcomes.

Fortunately, as occupational therapists that help people to regulate healthy behaviors, we have some thoughts and strategies to help eliminate the use of screen time in your household:

•         Set strict limits on the amount of time your children can use the tablet or computer each day (2 hours is the recommended maximum).

•         Use the tablet or computer as a reward system; it can only be used once the chores and homework are done (Change your wifi or device passwords daily or weekly and the kids cannot receive it until they have done their chores).

•         Ensure a timer is set for the duration of the allowed activity – and stick to it!  When it “dings” the child knows to return the device.

•         For every hour of screen time your children must engage in another activity (i.e. board game with the siblings, a craft, playing outside, going for a bike ride etc.)

•         Own one family device that requires sharing rather than each child having their own.

•         Make a rule that devices are only to be used in common areas, not in bedrooms.

As a mother of four, I have two household strategies in place: one is a cell-phone contract that my children must agree-to and sign prior to getting their own phone (in our house this is at age 14), the other is our “technology pass”.  This “pass” requires our kids to confirm, via checklist and parental inspection, that their chores and responsibilities are done, before they are “rewarded” with screen time.  Many of my friends have asked me for a copy of our pass, so I have included this below.  Feel free to copy, print, or modify to suit the needs of your family as well!

Bathroom is tidy

 

Being an occupational therapist is a blessing and a curse when it comes to parenting.  Our profession is all about productivity, function and self and behavior-regulation.  I hope that my firm approach to “OT-parenting” will be an asset to my children in the future.