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The (Parents) Social Dilemma

I have to admit that one of the greatest technological inventions of our century is the invention of the smart cellphone. It has allowed us to do things and pretty much get everything we need and want. Or so we think. Having practiced in the Mental Health field for the past twenty something years, it didn’t take long for me to realize that something very unusual, very worrisome and perhaps very frightening was happening to anyone that was carrying a smartphone.

"I began noticing it in every single individual that I came across with. From young children and adolescents, to teenagers, adults and the elderly, pretty much anyone who had a cellphone was beginning to use it as a form to keep themselves distracted, entertained, and most of all, informed. "

Individuals were slowly becoming obsessed and hypnotized by this apparatus that kept their attention focused for long periods of time, with no end in sight. I recall the simplicity and sophistication in which the children that I was treating learned to use these smartphones and play with them for hours and hours. Parents were beginning to ask me for help. Some were alarmed with the challenges they were facing when asking their children to get off their cellphones. Overall for many of my young patients their academic grades began to plummet and even for some whose grades were normally in the upper rank with honor rolls, suddenly found themselves experiencing academic failure.

Another interesting phenomenon was the issue with image, self-esteem and bullying. Many of my clients began exhibiting depression and anxiety as a result of self-image issues, especially relating to their body weight. Many began experiencing depression as a result of body dimorphic, a mental health disorder in which you can't stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance — a flaw that appears minor or can't be seen by others. But the individual feels so embarrassed, ashamed and anxious that they avoid social situations. As I completed my Psychology residency at Miami Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida, I began to notice yet another phenomenon, this one in the ranks of a health disaster and was starting to rise up in the ranks of a health epidemic to a pandemic, and this was the subject of Type 2 Diabetes in children due in part to excessive weight as a result of a sedentary lifestyle and less physical activity.

Children were no longer engaging in outside fun and games with their friends from the neighborhood. No longer were kids going to the park to play some sport or simply walk and hang out with friends.

But now instead, as children everywhere arrived home from school the first thing they did was lay on their couch and spend hours on social media sites or play video games, while ignoring their homework, house chores, and any plans of getting together with friends to play and exercise.

The Netflix documentary, #the Social Dilemma, depicting the dangerous human impact of social networking, as the experts of these giant social networks describe how they use psychology in order to learn and control the minds of individuals and keep them using and using social networks. In a nutshell, knowledge is power.

Educate yourself not by what others say, but by going to the source. At Sports Education Movement we honor the values of fitness, health and wellness. How you think, how you eat and how you behave, will make a difference in how you feel.

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