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mSpy Interviews Carrie Krawiec, expert in individual, couple, family therapy

mSpy Interviews Carrie Krawiec, expert in individual, couple, family therapy

#1 mSpy: What are the symptoms / signals of addiction?

Carrie Krawiec: Screen or game addiction is not an official diagnosis, but signs of addiction of this kind would be a loss of interest or motivation to do other activities of daily life like hygiene, sleep. An experience of depression or irritation when not playing that is alleviated by playing where a “high” elevated mood is experience, preoccupation with thinking about the game or screen.

#2 mSpy: How do parents deal with it and what are their mistakes?

Carrie Krawiec: Parents should learn and gain awareness of the games or apps. Uninformed parents can either go overboard with restrictions that their teens may disregard or go under with restrictions. Plan times to review and revisit use. Do random checks of phones and apps to see the content, time used and then also scheduled checks. Create rules for behavior and plans for how limits will be removed. If you are prepared to remove the app or phone also be prepared for other forms of contact.

#3 mSpy: When the right time to ring alarm bells?

Carrie Krawiec: Certainly when age appropriate typical behaviors are not being met like going to school, work, bathing, eating.

#4 mSpy: In your opinion, why do kids turn to online games, social media, and other online activities?

Carrie Krawiec: Kids are motivated by what their peers are doing so social motivators are going to be heavily influencing. Also, the apps are usually novel, colorful and have some sort of competitive component. Teens do not like to be left out and participating makes them feel “in.”

#5 mSpy: How does social media influence kids? How does it affect mental health?

Carrie Krawiec: Social media has been linked to increases in anxiety and depression. Especially like mentioned above the fear of missing out can be exacerbated when you see your peers interacting online together in real time.

On a positive, it can help kids who wouldn’t ordinarily connect find people with similar interests, but one safety issue is those other “friends” may be predators instead of peers.

Bullying or harsh comments, especially behind the veil of the Internet can also be damaging to esteem.

#6 mSpy: How do social media and online exposure influence their self-esteem and identity?

Carrie Krawiec: If you measure your low lights about your self to everyone else’s highlight reel you will always feel inadequate

#7 mSpy: How would you comment the following: “Social media fuels kids’ inferiority complexes”?

Carrie Krawiec: As mentioned above I would say absolutely. Kids don’t always have developed the advanced skills to challenge what they are seeing and may take it at face value.

#8 mSpy: Do parents need to regulate screen time?

Carrie Krawiec: Yes. Parents should know the who, what, where, how of their child’s in person and online lives and can adjust based on age, responsibility level and trust that has been earned by compliance to rules in the past.

#9 mSpy: When is the right time to allow kids using a phone and the Internet?

Carrie Krawiec: Based again on age, responsibility, and trust. A younger kid that has demonstrated obedience to parent rules may get this privilege where an older kid that routinely defies may not.

#10 mSpy: Have you had cases with kids involved in cyberbullying, online child sexting, contacts with online predators?

Carrie Krawiec: Yes. Many. One 13 yr old had her phone confiscated by federal investigators bc she sent nudes to an adult predator. A natural consequence better than parents could have had.

#11 mSpy: What should parents do if their kids are cyberbullied or bully others online? Is it possible to identify it? (the same with child sexting, contacts with online predators).

Carrie Krawiec: Parents should become familiar with online apps and behaviors, and spot check their child’s phone as well as a routine check with their child to learn what’s going on. Parents should create rules for appropriate and inappropriate behavior (their standards not other parents) and then create rules for how limits will be set when they were not followed. Also be sure to lay on encouragement for following house rules and coming to you honestly when there is a problem.

In the event of sexting, many state laws have not been updated to account for this behavior, and a teen can be held accountable for possessing and sending child pornography even if the image is of themselves. If you are worried about incriminating your teen (or yourself as the owner of the phone/policy), you may first consider contacting an attorney that specializes in criminal sex crimes before calling the police.

#12 mSpy: In your opinion, can technology help parents deal with e-safety challenges?

Carrie Krawiec: Yes, there are apps where you can see your child’s real-time behavior as well as apps where you can have cameras on your house.

#13 mSpy: If summing up, what would you say about the subject?

Carrie Krawiec: Is it underway and needs public attention? It definitely needs parental attention. I say “If you wouldn’t drive your kid to the airport without knowing where they are going, who are they seeing, how are they paying for it and when will they be back then you shouldn’t let them on the internet without knowing either.”

#14 mSpy: Where can parents find your tips on family issues? (Your resources/platforms)?

Carrie Krawiec: Here is the link to my Therapist Bio at Birmingham Maple Clinic.
Website: Carrie Krawiec, LMFT

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