As an educator and coach on parenting and family life, I have studied how the pedophiles and commercial interests engage tech-savvy youth so they can exploit them. To that end, I teach caring adults how to engage youth to empower them and impart wisdom. In this feature, I address how not to give up your personal power to the device.

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Some preliminary results from a major study conducted by the National Institutes of Health on the impact of screentime on young brains was recently featured in the news. The research reveals that developers use brain science in order to tap the reward systems of the brain associated with dopamine, which are short term “feel good” fixes that can alter the physical structure of the brain, like a drug.

And while there is a lot of anxiety over how mobile connectivity is impacting the young brains, studies have shown and conversations with young folks indicate that parents tend to be distracted and consumed by the devices. The critical concern for families is this: do you realize whether you are using the device or are you being used by the device?

So I encourage parents to examine their own dependence on screens for daily life. Below are a few signs that your device may be controlling your role in family dynamics:

  1. The smart phone is with you 24X7, and you respond to every notification day or night.
  2. [for parents] Your child keeps asking you to get off the device.
  3. [for youth] Your parents keep asking you to put the device down.
  4. You spend more time texting/emailing rather than talking in person.

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As you consider this list, remember that undivided and kind attention is critical to strengthen any human connection. At Core Connectivity we believe that every individual possesses a spirit of power and love and sound mind essential to overcome the brain science used to distract us from experiencing love in the family. We encourage parents to set the example with this power that can never be taken but is so easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. Put down the device and just be present with your child without judging and without an agenda, especially when they are frustrating you. Your frustration is a sign that there is something you need to learn about how your child’s life is informing them. Get interested in what interests your child and what breaks their heart.

Undivided attention with an open mind is this is how to establish a human connection so you can impart wisdom and offer guidance. This is how we can stimulate the part of the brain that secretes oxytocin, the authentic love hormone which makes human bonding possible. With this mindset of belonging through human connection, (i.e., experiencing and believing that you are loved unconditionally), it is then possible to engage yourself and your family in setting age-appropriate limits for the use of technology.

Indeed the power of parents as teachers for life is to lead by their own examples.

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About:  We are a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. Our mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your donations are greatly appreciated. (Donations are payable to Banana Moments Foundation).

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Joanna Jullien, Founder & CEO of Core Connectivity
Photo by: Victoria Hatch

Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and consultant on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber-powered world. She is a former technology executive trained in behavioral science at U.C. Berkeley, a mother of two grown sons, and an author of books for practical guidance on parenting, growing up and family life in the network culture. As a family and technology culture advisor, Joanna has appeared on 103.9FM The Fish, 710AM Keeping Faith in America, 1380AM The Answer, and Examiner.com.