I know. Every generation says the same thing because the world keeps changing. However, the digital boom of the last 20 years or so has made childhood exponentially different today.
Anxiety, learning disabilities, depression, and even suicide . . . are all on the rise and even more so in the last few years. It is not a coincidence. Although digital devices may not be the only culprit, it is a huge factor.
Children are being exposed to screens and social platforms way before their brains are developed enough to handle it. Much of it is too much for an adult, let alone a minor, as I explained in my previous article about digital dementia. (Yes, that is a thing.)
In this article, I want to introduce you to two new heroes of mine when it comes to healing our children’s brain and mind. Both recently launched books. Be sure to read to the end for additional mental help tips.
Media Trauma and Our Digital Soul
First, I would like to introduce you to Jenny Black, a licensed marriage/family therapist and author. Her new book Our Digital Soul: Collective Anxiety, Media Trauma and a Path Toward Recovery explains how we are constantly being traumatized by our devices, both children and adults. She explains the impact of digital media, backed by research and experience, and provides many solutions.
Some of this she covers in her TedX talk titled The Slow Drip of Media Trauma, where she explains how trauma experienced vicariously through screens is so much worse than experiencing the trauma in person. If you are personally involved in a trauma like a car accident or a hurricane, you experience all of the trauma, the bad as well as the good. You grow from it and build resistance.
Trauma is defined as trapped energy. This heightened energy helps you to act and deal with the traumatic event. If instead, you or your child sees a traumatic event on social media or in the news, it is sensationalized and viewed repeatedly. Your body experiences the same trapped energy of the trauma, but there is no outlet for it. Without being in the trauma itself, you are not able to discharge this trapped energy.
We compound the problem by watching the same trauma over and over, making it worse and worse. Gaining none of the positive outcomes.
Phone Addition is Real
Jenny Black also explains how all of us have been trained to go to our phone for everything. It tricks us to think it meets all our needs. It does not! She reminds us that “real life is what you were made for.” She suggests that before you pick up your phone, you should always ask yourself, “what needs am I trying to fill?”
Children typically cannot do this on their own – using their devices literally increases dopamine in their brain, creating an addiction. Instead we need to help them create new habits. In her TedX talk she has a few tips, including how to cultivate “inside treats” so you and your children can start healing!
In this two-part interview. Jenny is being interviewed by a financial advisor who also happens to be studying psychology: Part 1 and Part 2. My favorite part is the last half of Part 2 where Jenny explains how she created new study habits for her kids. Habits that limit the use of a cellphone. Not only did this drastically reduce the time to do homework, but it also greatly improved their grades.
Most importantly, we are teaching our children great long-term cellphone habits!
Lastly, the TedX talk explains how parents are additionally creating “anxious attachment” when they track their children 24/7 using the location setting on their phones. This is definitely something to consider as it is is not a natural way to live for the parent or the child.
And, if you look at tracking from an EMF standpoint, it is not good for your child to always have their cellphone’s GPS/location antennae turned on. Their device is constantly submitting their young bodies to wireless radiation as it continually connects to celltowers and satellites for tracking.
Changing Neuropathways in the Brain
The first step is to start limiting the devices by changing how you view and how you use them daily. (I explain more good habits here.) Then you need to shift the potential damage that has already occurred in the brain and learn how to recognize potential problems.
A great resource is Dr. Caroline Leaf’s newest book, How to Help Your Child Clean Up Their Mental Mess: A guide to Building Resilience and Managing Mental Health, which is specifically for kids, even as young as 4 years old. She teaches parents how to help their children shift the “negative” wiring of the brain to a “positive” wiring, using her proven “Neurocycle” system.
Dr. Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist specializing in Neuropsychology, created tools and processes that help people develop and change their thinking and related behavior. She breaks down mind management into four components: emotions, behaviors, body sensations and perspectives.
This podcast nicely explains Dr. Leaf’s process as it applies to children. I especially like that Dr. Leaf believes we need to address mental health as an individual and in community, including the parents modeling good practices to their kids.
Frequency-related Brain Healing Tools
There are other great healing technique or therapies available that can help shift the brain. More subtle ones include things like affirmations, prayer and meditation, and practicing gratitude. Overtime you end up shifting your body’s frequency and your neural networks.
Other more powerful techniques use frequencies, which can often make a more dramatic shift on the mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. Bioenergetics, for instance, can be used to send the frequencies of positive emotions, affirmations, healing stones and much more to help your body shift out of its negative frequencies. Frequencies can be customized to you or your child’s specific situation.
Additional healing tools include flower essences and Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT.
Flower essence therapy often refer to Bach Flower Essences. However, flower essences are used in many cultures and there are many additional flower remedies. I explain more about flower remedies here. When I use custom blends with children, dramatic shifts can happen. It is quite amazing to see.
EFT, also known as tapping, it can help shift frequencies in our body by clearing our meridians and other energy pathways. Working with an experienced EFT practitioner can be very beneficial. However, to get started at home, a book that I often recommend to parents is titled Tap into Joy: A Guide to Emotional Freedom Techniques for Kids and Their Parents by Susan Jeffrey Busan.
This book provides an excellent explanation of how EFT works. The best part is the many “done for you” scripts you can use to help your child right away – for fears, phobias, limiting beliefs, negative thoughts, and so much more.
With a small child you do the EFT exercises right alongside him/her. If you have an older child, keep the book out so that he or she can pick it up when they need some additional help.
The good news is that we can shift the brain and the mind – in ourselves and in our children. It is never too late to start making a change. Know there is hope! And, people to help.
To learn more about brain health for all age groups with additional helpful information, go to this article.