With the summer months coming, it’s time to start thinking about activities and how to keep the kids busy while they’re out of school. Yes, summer is a great time to turn off the alarm clock and routine, let loose, and relax a little. Maybe you’re allowing a little bit more screen time to pass the days. But beware of over-correction:  Is your child spending a larger and larger portion of their day with their eyes glued to a screen?

Let’s face it — technology is here to stay, and it’s becoming more and more ubiquitous by the minute.  What does that mean for kids and teens who keep their eyes glued to screens for what seems like all day, every day?

While experts are still deciding whether the concept of “screen addiction” is in fact a real thing, it’s pretty clear that young people are more and more dependent on their technology for social fulfillment and entertainment.

If you suspect your child is becoming a little too dependent on their technology, here are some questions you can ask to gauge how affected your child has become by their screen usage:

  • Is their preferred screen activity the only thing that seems to bring them joy?
  • Do they become upset when forced to unplug?
  • Are they trying to sneak in more screen time behind your back?
  • Do their screen habits interfere with family or social interactions, or at school?

The backlash developing from increased dependency on technology over the last several years is palpable among young people and adults alike. There is mutual concern among young people whose identities and sense of self are dictated by how many “likes” they get for their daily posts, and among child development researchers who posit that children who grow up as digital natives struggle with compassion, empathy, and basic communication skills.

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, it’s probably time to consider how you can support your child and help them wean themselves off of their technology and into a more interactive activity. At The International School of Music, we believe that summer music lessons provide the intention and direction that your child needs.

Music lessons are a great way to mitigate device addiction, as music is a social activity where the musicians must be alert and interactive with other musicians, with the audience, with the music itself, and with their own emotional state. According to Dr. Lori Gooding, Assistant Professor of Music Therapy at Florida State University, “Children need opportunities to learn social skills, practice those skills, and receive corrective feedback about their performance of those skills” (Gooding, 2009, p. 35), and music study is the perfect way to learn, practice, and perfect their social skills.

Students who take music lessons are often more personally fulfilled — they have developed the endurance to take on a project, face obstacles, perfect the details and produce a tangible result. They develop patience when something goes wrong, as well as problem solving skills to fix it. Particularly when school is out of session, students can also feel fulfilled by taking summer music lessons. It’s a great way to fill all that free time in a purpose-filled way.

Additionally, students who participate in music learning are less likely to suffer from feelings of alienation and isolation, low self-esteem, and depression, due to the highly social nature of music making. In fact, music is proven to promote individual growth, sense of self and identity, team building skills, and other great feelings of success. Whereas technology use is a solitary activity involving just the user and the device, music strengthens the bond between people. When people share a musical experience, they synchronize their movement, breath, and emotions to work together, supporting growth in feelings of empathy and communication.

If you’re interested in getting your child’s nose out of their screen and into something productive but FUN this summer, give us a call and schedule an introductory music lesson on the instrument of your choice! Offering piano lessons, vocal lessons, guitar lessons, and so much more, summer music lessons are sure to be a hit with your child. Call 301.365.5888 today!

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES 

Music Study and Social-Emotional Development:

https://nafme.org/advocacy/what-to-know/music-education-and-social-emotional-development/

http://syncproject.co/blog/2015/11/9/music-enhances-social-skills

http://kansasmusicreview.com/2018/01/06/music-education-and-socio-emotional-development/

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1048371309342531?journalCode=gmtb

Children and Teens and Technology Addiction:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/06/30/gaming-disorder-kids-addiction-social-media-technology-video-games-column/737537002/

https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/02/05/579554273/screen-addiction-among-teens-is-there-such-a-thing