I think My Child is Buffering

Dear Brooke, as a ‘consequence’ I recently removed all screen time from my 8 year old son. Previously he had up to 2 hours of (approved) tv or games per day.

The result has shocked me. He asks for a screen over and over, many times an hour. He describes how he always feels horrible without a screen. He is jittery irritable and angry. He’s tried over and over to get access to any screen, however boring the show. The way he describes it and behaves looks exactly like he’s been buffering long term with screens. Without them he’s in discomfort and dealing with strong urges.

I’ve basically enforced him to go cold turkey. I wondered if you had any thoughts on this, or experience with children buffering and how to support them. The hard part is seeing how unhappy he seems to be when the screens are gone, how he doesn’t seem to find pleasure within real life. He’s a bright kid who tends towards perfectionism – I try talking to him about life being 50% negative and he just says all of it is. Thank you.