Screen Time & Technology: How Exposure Affects Long Term Mental and Visual Health

Screen Time & Technology: How Exposure Affects Long Term Mental and Visual Health

By Crystal Tsui

We are privileged to live in the digital world. We can go on-line and check on with friends who are thousands of miles away or go shopping on our device during our lunch break. Everything is just a touch away and has become so accessible, but all of this comes with a price. We are exposing our children to electronic screens at such a young age, even as early as two months. Although it may be easy for busy parents to calm their child with an iPad, the harm may be greater than the immediate good. During the time we are exposing our young children to screens, their brains are still developing.

There is a period, which psychologists call the Critical Period, when children need exposure to outside stimuli from the environment around them. This is when they learn to distinguish facial expressions, social cues, and even tone of voice. If they are not exposed to the environment around them, their development could be stunted.

Prolonged screen time can affect their neurodevelopment, learning, and can result in behavioral disorders. Parents try to utilize digital screens for the purpose of education in most cases. Since digital is instant, the technology is thinking for the children. Not only that, but screens shift the nervous system into fight-or-flight mode which can cause self-regulation and stress management to be less efficient. If stress management is less efficient, children might not be able to handle daily stressors when they grow up.

Apart from mental health deficits, early screen time can cause visual deficits in children. Dr. Rahul Bhola, pediatric ophthalmologist, states that in the past few decades there has been an increase in myopia or near-sightedness. Not only has myopia been increasing, but a study found that children who were exposed to digital screens at a very young age, developed acute onset esotropia or crossing of the eyes. Many children had to have surgery to correct their eyes. However, if children must use screens (school related or not) try to limit their time and encourage outdoor activities as well as breaks from the digital world.

If you or someone you know has behavioral or attention disorders, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit .


Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) in Children

By: Tamar Asayan

School Phobia is now referred to Separation Anxiety. It can also be known as school refusal or school avoidance because it makes going to school very difficult for children. Separation Anxiety Disorder is when someone has excessive fear or anxiety about leaving their home or an attachment figure. In children, their attachment figure is usually their parents because they see them as a figure of protection and do not want to leave their side. Humans require an attachment to parental figures because they provide love, protection, and care to us. Children attach their deepest fears to their parents because they believe they can make any fear go away.

Children who have separation anxiety have a difficult time sleeping alone, going to school, avoiding play dates, and do anything to stay at home with their parents. They also experience symptoms of dizziness, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and have difficulty sleeping. These symptoms can lead to children not wanting to leave their house even more because the thought of a parent leaving can give symptoms of panic and anxious thoughts.

Separation Anxiety Disorder is more common in children who suffer from parents separating or going through a divorce. Any detachment from a parent is experienced as a life threatening danger to the child. They fear they no longer will be protected and will be left alone by their parents. These feelings of anxiety are relieved when they are safe in the presence of their parents to reassure them that they are not going anywhere. In order for children to overcome their separation anxiety and their fear to attend school it is important to seek help as early as they can.

The best method in treating Separation Anxiety Disorder is by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT); it helps parents and children learn new coping skills when they are separated from each other. It is also important to make your child feel safe and protected in the environment they are living in and develop trust in their parents that they are not going to leave them.

If you are a parent and are concerned about your child having separation anxiety call the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit




Listening: Three Ways to Become a Better Listener


By: Tamar Asayan

All anyone ever wants is to be listened to when they are going through a difficult time in their life. An act as simple as listening can be the biggest help anyone can ask for. However, it can also be the hardest thing to do because listeners have a habit of relating issues back to themselves. The aim of listening is not to try to fix them or tell them what to do; instead it is to show them that you care and feel for them as they are struggling. Oftentimes, it is better to not relate issues back to yourself. People feel the need to be listened to because they want to make sure their thoughts are rational, and do not want to overthink. When we listen it reassures the person that we care and that they are not alone.

Three easy steps to becoming a better listener is to listen, understand, and respond appropriately.

  1. Listen
    • Pay attention to not only what the speaker is saying but body language as well.
    • Do not interrupt the speaker.
  2. Understand
    • This is the time to process everything the person has told you so you know how to respond appropriately.
    • Ask questions; the best types of questions to ask are open ended and reflective questions.
    • This allows the speaker to open up even more and explain what they are going through.
  3. Response
    • Address the speaker’s points.
    • Restate what they have told you.
    • Don’t complete the speaker’s sentences. This can come off rude, and interrupts your time to listen and for them to speak. Interrupting and assuming what the speaker is feeling will make them think you do not want to listen.



If you or someone you know may be having trouble with communication speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit