"Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age" (Encore presentation.)

Jan 29, 2014

(Note: This show originally aired last August.) Today, an interesting chat with Catherine Steiner-Adair, a noted clinical psychologist, school consultant, and author. She maintains a private practice in Massachusetts, is a clinical instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and is also an associate psychologist at McLean Hospital, which is a psychiatric hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. Steiner-Adair's latest book is "The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age," which Kirkus Reviews has called "an important guide to an occasionally overlooked aspect of modern parenting." And further, as was noted by Booklist: "Parents face the paradox of the faster, broader communication and access to information that technology brings, leading to disconnection in the family as its members communicate less often face-to-face. Clinical psychologist and family therapist Steiner-Adair explores the changes in the dynamics of family life when there are fewer conversations around the dinner table, fewer play dates with children actually physically playing together, and fewer pretend games. Drawing on therapy sessions and interviews with parents, children, and educators, Steiner-Adair reports some children feeling neglected by parents enthralled by their cell phones or computers and parents feeling left out of their children’s lives as they engage electronically with friends, games, and other distractions. Beyond any fears of the neurological threats of technology, Steiner-Adair points to the emotional costs of being worn down by constant communication and hasty responses and from being ignored by others as they communicate via electronic devices. She offers advice on how to develop a 'sustainable family' that recognizes how pervasive technology is but focuses on the need to develop emotional connections between parents and children."