• Mayo Mindfulness: Set down your device and start paying attention

young people, perhaps students sitting on a floor with multiple digital devices, laptop computer, iPads, phones representing media addictionA recent study found that teens spend an average of nine hours each day looking at a screen. Adults who are determined to not let that be true for their kid will first need to look in the mirror.

While staring intently at our phones during a recent meeting break, we noticed a reassuring comment from Mayo resiliency expert Amit Sood, M.D. It seems "only about 6 percent" of us are "officially" addicted to our various screens, he tells the Rochester Post-Bulletin. Still, a recent study found that teenagers are spending an average of nine hours a day with their eyes glued to screens, "and that's outside of school," the paper reports. To no great surprise, their mental health and social skills are paying the price. "Attention is a zero-sum game," Dr. Sood tells the P-B. "If they're attending to the technology, they're not paying attention to the person in front of them."

So what's are a parent to do, especially during the school year when our life becomes increasingly busy (and the weather outside eventually becomes frightful — at least in certain northerly climes). Dr. Sood says it comes down to setting and sticking to a few simple screen time guidelines that, to work, must apply to the whole family. "Don't worry that they're not listening to you — worry that they're watching you," Dr. Sood tells the paper, noting that for parents to get their family off to a good start, they can start by modeling good screen behavior themselves. Read the rest of this article on In the Loop.
This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.

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