Today’s guest blog/article is written by my colleague and friend, Kevin Roberts. Kevin has just published a book, “Cyber Junkie: Escape the Gaming and Internet Trap.” If you or someone you love has ADD, chances are, you can totally relate to the title of that book, alone. More about that later-
I’ve known Kevin for years and let me tell you- this man is brilliant. He is bilingual x 3 or 4 which I believe means he is polyglot (check Wikipedia). He’s an educator. He’s a coach. He’s a musician. He’s also probably the funniest person I’ve ever met. And the list goes on.
Underneath all of these incredible talents, is a man who really “gets” ADD and he has made it his mission to help people, especially students, succeed in spite of it. His humor, paired with intuition, understanding and humor, has taken many many young people forward in ways they never thought possible.
I’m excited to see that Kevin has published this book. It’s so new; my own copy has only just arrived at the doorstep, so watch for a review here soon.
In the meantime, Kevin has graciously written this article for my site and what a great time to post it- just as kids are returning to school! You, as moms, know how difficult it can be to get your child to turn off the computer, Wii, Game Boy, etc.
This article will give you some specific tools to help your own “cyber junkie.” And now…
The Cyber World: Mother’s Motivational Ally
By Kevin Roberts
I am not a mother, but I might as well be. I run study groups out of my home for ADHD kids and I am an adult with ADHD as well. I see 30-40 kids per week; most come over for 3-4 hours at a time. I have five computers available and video game consoles for break time. While these electronic amusements are powerful motivational carrots, they are also ripe ground for abuse.
I assess each child’s homework load upon arrival to my study groups, and, since almost all of them are cyber-oriented, we come up with a reasonable amount of work that must be completed before they can have a game or computer break, which is usually limited to 15-20 minutes. I use game and computer management tools to eliminate the need for monitoring. These tools are quite sophisticated nowadays. When the time’s up, the game shuts down! Like most ADHDers, I can easily fall into negativity; I take great pains with my ADHD students to make sure that I am not one more hyper-critical and nagging adult in their lives. Computer and game management devices help me a great deal in this pursuit. I recommend that all mothers (and fathers) make use of these tools. I have seen them transform families!
Given the enormous power of the cyber world, I also strongly suggest that mothers with cyber-oriented children come up with a behavioral modification plan. Link “screen time” with other behaviors you’d like to see. You need to come up with a system that links desired outcomes with the privilege of playing video games, or simply watching TV! You can use a spreadsheet, poster, or simply a piece of paper with desired behaviors on one side and rewards on the other. It is useful to make copies so you can have a new sheet at the beginning of each week. If you’re anything like me, it would also be good to get the support of a friend, preferably one who is high in follow-through. I find that I am great at starting innovative projects, but struggle to keep them going. Find a friend who is willing to check in with you a few times a week to see how things are going. DO NOT TRY TO CREATE CHANGE WITHOUT SUPPORT.
Read the rest of Kevin’s article HERE
Kevin Roberts is a recovering video game addict who runs support groups to help others struggling with cyber addiction get their lives back on track. He is a nationally recognized expert on video gaming addiction and a regular conference speaker. Roberts has a background in education and is the developer of a sixteen-module curriculum designed to give those with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), often a driving factor of video game and internet addiction, the skills they need to succeed. Cyber Junkie is his first book.