Someone certainly is capable of observing the signs that a child is more interested in being alone with a machine than being involved with family members or the children in the neighborhood or the cat.
I think we all know who that someone is.
To allow technology to be so central to the lives of our children that they become deranged by the thought of turning it off strikes me as a profound act of neglect on the part of the people responsible for their care.
Not that I said any of this to that mother who asked what to do.
To her, I said, “Call a family meeting and say, ‘Dad and I have decided we can do a better job of keeping the Internet from becoming an unhealthy part of our lives. So we are creating new family standards about how we use technology and media.’”
Then, I suggested, write down the rules about how much time your children can spend online, when they may use the Internet and where in the house they are permitted to be. When the time is up, unplug the router and call it a night.
As for the withdrawal symptoms? They’ll subside. The question is, can parents give up being too permissive? That’s a much harder habit to kick.