Paula Poundstone Hopes to Educate Parents About Technology Addiction
Comedian Paula Poundstone knew her son Thomas had an addiction, but finding someone to help him wasn’t easy. He wasn’t addicted to alcohol or drugs; he was addicted to gaming.
Playing video games consumed his life to the point where she called the police once when he was a teenager because he refused to go to school. That was years ago and at the time no one had heard of technology addition.
Since then, Paula has been on mission to educate parents. On Monday, September 17th she’s hosting a panel at New Roads School in Santa Monica called “Kids’ Brains and Screens: Smart Parenting in the Digital Age” with Child Psychiatrist Victoria Dunkley, author of Reset Your Child’s Brain, and Melanie Hempe, founder of Families Managing Media.
I had already bought tickets to the panel when I went to interview Paula. To be honest, I worry about my family’s technology consumption. We often have discussions about putting phones away so we can be present in the moment – and not just for the kids. I’m as much of the problem as anyone.
But I do feel that technology can be good for kids and adults in moderation. Being able to find that balance is what’s difficult and I hope to learn skills on how to manage it.
According to a Common Sense Media Study, “Technology Addiction: Concern, Controversy and Finding Balance,” 50 percent of teenagers feel addicted to their mobile devices. And this year the World Health Organization included “Gaming Disorder” on its International Classification of diseases.
Paula said people are finally starting to understand what she’s known for so long, that technology addition is real.
One of the problems Paula faced when dealing with her son’s addiction, was how easy it was for him to find devices. He was able to play at school and he found ways to bring technology home even after she took his computer away. She often finds pushback when she talks about solutions like limiting the use of technology in elementary schools.
And delaying the introduction of devices to kids. She often sees babies and toddlers in strollers looking at phones or tablets instead of the world around them. That constant use of devices from the time a child can hold a phone to the time they graduate high school can have an impact on their brain development and we don’t yet know the long term effects, she said.
“It’s cruel to shove an ipad in a kid’s face and not know the consequences,” she said.
For more information about the event, visit PaulPounstone.com.