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PARENTS HIRING COACHES TO RAISE PHONE-FREE KIDS

Dr Ritambhara Lohan
TIME TO DISCONNECT!!! In this world of technology, we are seeing our kids submerging in the pool of gadgets, phones, games etc. This health hazard is rising so much that it is causing worries to the parents. Parents around the country, alarmed by the steady pattern of studies around screen time, are trying to turn back in time to the era before smart phones. But it’s not easy to remember what exactly things were like before smart phones. So they are hiring professionals. A new screen-free parenting coach economy has sprung up to serve the demand. Screen consultants come into homes, schools, churches and synagogues to remind parents how people parented before. Rhonda Moskowitz is a parenting coach in Ohio. She has a master’s degree in K-12 learning and behavior disabilities, and over 30 years experience in schools and private practice. She barely needs any of this training now. “I try to meet the parents where they are, and now often it is very simple: ‘Do you have a plain old piece of material that can be used as a cape?” said Moskowitz. “Great!” “Is there a ball somewhere? Throw the ball,” she said. “Kick the ball”. Among affluent parents, fear of phones is rampant, and it’s easy to see why. The wild look their kids have when they try to pry them off Fortnite is alarming. Most parents suspect dinner time probably shouldn’t be spent on Instagram. The YouTube recommendation engine seems like it could makes a young radical out of anyone. Now, major media outlets are telling them their children might grow smart phone related skull horns. Gloria DeGaetano was a private coach working in Seattle to wean families off screens when she noticed that demand was higher than she could handle on her own. She launched the Parent Coaching Institute, a network of 500 coaches and a training programme. Parents typically sign up for eight to twelve sessions. Screen “addiction “is the top issue parent hope she can cure. Her prescriptions are often absurdly basic. In Chicago, Cara Pollard, a parent coach, noticed most adults have gotten so used to entertaining themselves with phones, they forgot that they actually grew up without them. Clients were coming to her confused about what to do all afternoon with their kids to replace tablets. She has her clients do a remembering exercise. “I say, ‘Just try to remember what you did as a kid,” Pollard said. They will come back with memories of painting or looking at the moon. “They report back like it’s a miracle,” Pollard said. A movement reminiscent of the “virginity pledge”- a vogue in the late 90s in which young people promised to wait until marriage to have sex- is bubbling up across the country. In this 21st century version, a group of parents band together and make public promises to withhold smart phones from their children until eighth grade. Richard Halpern, a former school counselor turned parenting coach based in Portland, Oregon, noticed that screen and phone issues were the number one concern people had when they called him. By the time parents got to him, they were often frustrated they wanted to just unplug and get rid of everything, but Halpern says he cautions restraint. “I recommend a whole life approach,” he said. “This is not a one and done. It’s a lifestyle change.” And for Halpern, that lifestyle change is often for parents to find a nonhuman animal, and for children to spend time with it and study its behavior. It’s high time to look into the matter and pull out our kids of this problem.

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