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Reset Your Child's Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time Paperback – July 14, 2015
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Craig Malkin, PhD, instructor in psychology, Harvard Medical School, and author of Rethinking Narcissism
Readers will . . . feel relieved to have such a helpful guide to teaching children that there is more to life than staring at a screen.”
Dr. Victoria Dunckley has given every child psychiatrist and pediatrician in America a wonderful gift. This book gives us a tool to share with the parents of the millions of children in the US who are agitated, unfocused, and out of control. She also answers the question about why this problem has accelerated in the last decade: it is screen-time, not a lack of Ritalin. I completely agree with her premise and her interventions. Thank you!”
Scott Shannon, MD, integrative child psychiatrist, past president of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine, and author of Please Don’t Label My Child
"Many parents won’t want to hear this, but child psychiatrist Dunckley makes a compelling case for an 'unrecognized disorder' she terms Electronic Screen Syndrome (ESS). From kids who melt down without cause, refuse to look people in the eye, are 'wired but tired,' or otherwise just hole up in their rooms all day, Dunckley’s research identifies the common thread of dysregulation owing to screen use and orders an immediate electronic 'fast.' Showing how ESS affects brain chemistry, arousal, sleep, and behavior, to name but a few outcomes, the author moves into a four-week step-by-step plan to 'reset' a child’s brain, resulting in better focus and organization, improved compliance, and more mature social interactions."
Parents will probably recoil from the idea of taking their children’s cell phones and laptops away from them. Let them know that Dunckley acknowledges the mountain that she is asking them to climb and, not only gives them thorough reasons for doing it, but also a highly detailed plan for accomplishing it.”
This practical and easy-to-read guide is a much-needed wake-up call for this digital age. Buy Reset Your Child’s Brain for your family, your school, and your local library.”
Kerry Crofton, PhD, cofounder and executive director of Doctors for Safer Schools and author of A Wellness Guide for the Digital Age
This book looks at how electronic media use can affect the central nervous system long after the offending device has actually been used an effect similar to that of drug addiction. It presents new studies that show how, as with drug use, functioning may not be impaired immediately, and in some cases it may even improve initially but then becomes worse. Finally, Dr. Dunckley outlines issues in diagnosis, in assessment, and most important, in treatment for battling and resetting the brain to overcome the rapidly emergent condition of Electronic Screen Syndrome.”
Dr. Kimberly S. Young, founder and director of the Center for Internet Addiction and NetAddiction.com
One of the problems worldwide that relates to this book is sleep deprivation. This has many consequences and to put it bluntly makes the sleep-deprived person fat, lazy, stupid, and depressed! The more that books like this expose the problem, the sooner we will be moving to a higher and more secure state of well-being!”
John J. Ratey, MD, clinical associate professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and author of Spark
Victoria Dunckley makes a convincing case that parents should be very concerned about their children’s constant exposure to electronic screenbased entertainment. Citing medical research as well as her work with hundreds of patients, Dr. Dunckley explains how electronic media overwhelm children’s nervous systems and impair their physical and mental functioning. Families who follow her practical approach to discontinuing electronic screen-time will see dramatic improvement in their children’s health and behavior.”
Jessica Solodar, award-winning medical journalist and former medical writer for Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry and the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation
Parents are constantly asking, What are the effects of screen use on my kids, how much is too much, and how can I regulate the use of screens by my kids?’ Finally, thanks to Dr. Dunckley’s Reset Program, parents have the answers and the tools to work on a solution!”
Ann Corwin, PhD, MEd, parenting education consultant, TheParentingDoctor.com
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Top customer reviews
We went from:
- 3-5 meltdowns a day
- struggling with transitions between activities (putting the iPad down to eat, bathe, leave the house, go to bed, etc),
- aggression towards his 1 year old brother,
- and just general instability in his personality (constantly walking on eggshells around him)
to a child who:
- has 1 meltdown or less per day (he routinely has days without meltdowns and it's MUCH more mild when it does happen),
- transitions are no longer an issue and do not cause meltdowns
- he plays gently and enthusiastically with his younger brother; he even asks if he can hold the baby now!
- his personality is so much more even keeled; small things no longer set him off or trigger meltdowns
My 7 year old used to routinely complain how BORED he was (after he had watched every video he was remotely interested in on YouTube). I would say "You have a room full of toys your never play with. Go find something." and he would respond with how boring ALL his toys were and there was nothing fun to do. He now plays enthusiastically with his toys, pretending with everything from Star Wars to building with blocks, to drawing (without using the iPad to think of things to draw). We now have a stash of board games to play in the evenings rather than stare at screens and I've found that I absolutely TREASURE the extra time I spend engaged with them. It sounds sappy, but it's true. I was so worried that taking the iPads away would mean so much more work for me, finding things to keep them occupied and it first, it was more work. But 4 weeks in, they now find their own activities to keep them busy and entertained. I can't believe what a complete turnaround it's been for us. This book was a lifesaver for my family.
Dr. Dunckley writes clearly about highly specialized brain functions and structures and how they are impacted by over-use and mis-use of screen technologies. Often folks think a one week or 10-day screen-free time period will help youngsters gain more control over their video/digital habits--but the fact is most children and teens need more time than that. Dr. Dunckley explains why a 4-week minimum is necessary to "reset" developing brain patterns and neural connections. PLUS she gives families a very detailed program to follow, giving many hopeful real-life examples of just how profound the positive changes can be for both kids and their parents.
Having spent my professional career since 1987 helping parents navigate media/digital issues successfully, I have studied the impact of too much screen-time on cognitive, emotional/social well being of youngsters and youth. And while media/digial literacy education in our homes and schools can help, I don't think media/digital literacy (or any form of literacy for that matter) can be taught to or learned effectively by kids who consume 8-10 hours of digital/screen entertainment daily. Developing brains need a variety of different types of activities, including less 2-D activities and more 3-D ones. Experts know this and brain science is clear on what developing brains need to grow optimally. Now, with this book, parents know this as well. No more confusion. These are indisputable facts, no matter how inconvenient, as Dunkley points out time and time again. With this book, parents can protect their children with accurate information and guide them wisely.
I am particularly horrified that violent video games are now normalized as an OK form of entertainment. In my book, (with Dave Grossman), Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie & Video Game Violence, I compiled the research on why video games are so harmful, particularly on children's self-identity. In this book, Dr. Dunckley clearly lays out the addiction pathways created by both violent and even so-called "educational" video games. She takes the popular notion that gaming is fine, even good for our kids, and shreds it with her deep understanding and precise articulation of the brain science.
In addition, the book is the best I have seen on how the "gestalt" of what Dunckley calls, Electronic Screen Syndrome. dis-regulates the brain (and therefore the child) on various levels causing stress, even traumatic stress, on an on-going basis--until the brain and central nervous system are cleansed and reset.
I have great respect for Dr. Dunckley, an integrative psychiatrist, who is helping thousands of families come back to life. When children and teens use screen technologies as purposeful tools, rather than as mindless tethers, they flourish and everyone in society benefits. I am recommending this book to all the parents and the family support professionals I work with. I hope you can tell, I can't recommend it highly enough!