Month: March 2021

Screen Addictions: Part I

Is it OK for 7 or 8 year-olds to have their own phone?

At the risk of sounding like an old-head, when I see kids younger than high school in possession of phones I notice myself questioning it.

Recently, a  7-year old girl talked to me about wanting to have her own YouTube channel, while also pushing her mom to have unlimited access to TikTok.

The average age of parents I deal with  is probably between 35 – 45.  They are largely referred to as a generation  considered to be  “digital natives.”  Perhaps the fact that their 7 year old is browsing TikTok and YouTube is no big deal.

I’m not so sure.

Most of the kids that I meet are logging in about  7 – 8 hours a day playing games like Fortnite and hanging on TikTok.

They become quite “meltdowny” (a term I coined) when asked to  get off their devices and do things like walk the dog or to complete some schoolwork.

An article in the New York Times spoke about the issues (“Children’s Screen Time Has Soared During the Pandemic: Alarming Parents & Researchers” ):

“Dr. Jenny Radesky, a pediatrician who studies children’s use of mobile technology at the University of Michigan, said she did countless media interviews early in the pandemic, telling parents not to feel guilty about allowing more screen time, given the stark challenges of lockdowns. Now, she said, she’d have given different advice if she had known how long children would end up stuck at home.”                  

“I probably would have encouraged families to turn off Wi-Fi except during school hours so kids don’t feel tempted every moment, night and day,” she said, adding,  “The longer they’ve been doing a habituated behavior, the harder it’s going to be to break the habit.” 

I could not agree more, accept this “habituation” was going on well before the pandemic struck.

I see kids as literally addicted to these activities.

What do you think?  Perhaps offer some comments that I can post in the follow-up.


Copyright, 2021
Questions or topics email Dr. Selznick.  Not in the South Jersey area? For a free 15 Minute Consultation, contact Dr. Selznick: email –

“We Live In a Decaying Age”

Most adults of a certain generation (let’s say north of 50 years) typically shake their collective head in bewilderment over children and the way they conduct themselves.

There’s always an undercurrent of, “What’s the matter with kids these days?”

I’ve been working on a book regarding how to parent challenging children and in my poking around to read more about the subject, I came  upon these quotes that brought a dose of reality to this perspective.

We live in a decaying age.  Young people no longer respect their parents.  They are rude and impatient.  They frequently inhabit places they shouldn’t and have no self-control.” (An inscription found in a 6,000 year old Ancient Egyptian tomb.)

“When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint.” (Hesiod, 8th Century BCE)

Our youth now love luxury.  They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents; chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”  (Socrates, 469 BCE).

“The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress.” (From a sermon preached by Peter the Hermit in A.D. 1274)

“Children are natural mimics – they act like their parents in spite of every attempt to teach them good manners.”  (Mad Magazine)

Or as the Talking Heads said in their classic song, “Once in a Lifetime,” “Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was.”

Trust me.  When I hear story after story of how kids conduct their lives, I find myself shaking my head (hopefully, not too visibly).

But the quotes above help to ground me.

“Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was.”

Copyright, 2021
Questions or topics email Dr. Selznick.  Not in the South Jersey area? For a free 15 Minute Consultation, contact Dr. Selznick: email –

#Dyslexia #Dyslexia #Dyslexia

No matter how many times I’ve heard it over the years, I continue to be astounded by the core mythology of “dyslexia,” that it is a problem where someone reads upside down and backward.

In spite of the workshops and trainings that have taken place around the country over the last 15 years, shaking this mythology from our collective awareness seems to be virtually impossible.

Part of the problem is that even for someone like myself, a professional in the field who has evaluated thousands of kids,  when asked the question, “So, Mr. Bigshot, we know you’ve written a book or two on dyslexia, can you please tell us what it is,” I find myself challenged to try and give a clear answer.

You would think after all these years, I would have a ready response, but I still hate the question!!

Mumbling through my mask in the interview, I start to “fumfer” around while attempting to define it.

At some point the word “decoding” will be be sprinkled in to my mumbling.  “Decoding????” the interviewer may ask.  “What is that?  Are you a spy with a decoder ring?”

Then I really start shuffling with a higher level of “fumfering” and start saying things like “phonemic awareness” and “phonological processing.”

Now the interviewer has completely lost it –  between “decoding rings” and something to do with “phones” and “awareness,” she has no idea what I am talking about.

Eventually, I try and regroup and say something more clearly like, “Dyslexia is a learning disability that doesn’t allow children to read, spell or write like other children.  It impacts them greatly on many levels and they need specialized instruction to overcome it.”

Astounded, the interviewer looks at me and says, “Why couldn’t you say that in the first place?  Why all the mumbling?   And what about all the upside down and reversal reading that everyone believes it is?”

“Well, literally everyone believes that’s what’s involved with dyslexia, but that really isn’t a part of things; you see dyslexia involves an awareness of sounds…”

The interviewer stops me mid-sentence and thanks me for my time.

I see her shaking her head as she packs up her things, muttering to herself as she flees from the interview.

Copyright, 2021
Questions or topics email Dr. Selznick.  Not in the South Jersey area? For a free 15 Minute Consultation, contact Dr. Selznick: email –


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