Sept. 14, 2020

Overcoming Screen Addiction in Families with Addiction Therapist Joshua C. Andrus

“Technology Bad!” Well… no. Intentionality and quality time are the best ways to overcome screen addiction whether it’s a toddler on an iPad, a teen scrolling through social media, or a parent bingeing their favorite Netflix episode.

Addiction therapist Joshua Andrus joins the show to share how families can overcome the pattern of interruption by redefining the way we view our digital circumstances. By shifting the conversation from wrong-doing to self-care and self-love, we can leverage technology to accomplish more and connect more deeply!

Key Takeaways:

Intentional media use is the goal, and we should control it, not it control us.

Parents’ engagement with their kids is one of the best ways to reduce media addiction.

Instead of blaming media for how it is affecting the child, ask how your family model is developing good habits.

In the current environment, technology has provided so many advantages that have never been used before.


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Amazon books by Joshua Andrus:

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Parents Overcoming Electronics Facebook page:


What to Listen for:

[2:00] Joshua Andrus’ background as an addiction therapist and father

[12:44] When we get on the devices, what is our awareness level? What intentional questions are we asking?

[24:30] Are we too are we too young, as a child, to start hearing about self-care and self-love?

[27:00] What signs can you see in your children that they’re addicted?


“It's not all bad. I believe in intentional device use, but it has become the same resemblance of the criteria for addiction.” [4:28]

“Let's sit with a child. Let's read a book. And that in itself is a quality time measure that overcomes that pattern interruption that we're so looking for.” [5:34]

“The kids connect and they're actually sometimes more healthy and willing to do the changing than the parents.” [11:45]

“A baby's impacted by a mom who's breastfeeding and doesn't empathically connect with the child while she's on her phone; we're seeing those damaging effects…” [13:00]

“Often our kids are just like that mirror of us… of who we are, how we run our lives and our families, and they basically repeat the things that we might not even notice.” [17:14]

“Even more we see the angst of irritability, restlessness. You have anxiety when you don't have this device, all these things together, add up to withdraw.” [30:00]


Joshua C. Andrus  0:01  
You have another one where somebody tries to set a goal for themselves to get off of Breaking Bad. I don't know who we might be talking about, and go engage with watching my daughter play soccer. And that was my rock bottom is is a weight that other episode really had me. And so I sat out my car and I watched the next episode of Breaking Bad, no harm, no foul in some people's minds. But that was enough for me, right? I realized this was not this was this had me I didn't have it. That clip

Daniel Norton  0:25  
you just heard was from today's guest, addiction therapist, Joshua C. Andrus. And we're going to be talking about screentime addiction and little kids, older kids and even adults, how our own behaviors might be influencing our kids, and how we might even be able to better manage our own screentime especially when we're in front of them or interacting with them. I'm looking forward to getting into this episode with Joshua.

Intro Music  0:54  
Welcome to working home parents helping you find stability between clients. Call and potty training, because we're all figuring this out as we go. And now, your hosts, Amanda and Dan Norton.

Amanda Norton  1:12  
Welcome to Episode Three. As a social worker, I understand the depth of the word addiction and how important it is to not take it lightly. Our conversation today is a very important one that many families are affected by and are concerned about. Joshua C. Andrus is an addiction therapist in the field of mental health. And he's also an author of a children's book series that specifically aims to help children overcome tech addiction and live healthier lives. We're looking forward to diving deep in this topic, so let's jump in the conversation. Well, hi, Josh. Welcome to working home parents podcast. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Joshua C. Andrus  1:55  
You're very welcome. Thank you for having me on.

Amanda Norton  1:58  
We're looking forward to our chat. With you, but first, we would love to hear about your story.

Joshua C. Andrus  2:03  
Awesome. Well, I this particular project is one near and dear to my heart, I'll be working on it for years to come. And when I talk about it, you'll see the reasons why. You know, when I first got into the field of addiction, we're working with mostly drugs and alcohol. The the idea that somebody that has the lie, cheat, steal behaviors, along with the extreme alcoholic an addict is, is, you know, kind of like something that was kind of known back then. And then there was a lot of the behaviors that started to surface five or six years ago, we knew about them, but we didn't really address them except for in like a co occurring sense or somewhere where we'd, we'd see you know, like somebody would have like a sex addiction along with their, you know, their drinking addiction or their cocaine most likely back then because a lot of people would tie the two together the stimulant with that kind of behavior, but then we get into a lot of gambling, addiction, those kind of things. So the behavior started to break down the scene of addiction filled in it surprises a lot of people that that's not something thing that's been treated for so long. But it is something that is now being treated. Well, we have devices now that enter into our homes, by permission by us, we get the latest and greatest. If you look at the evolution and how quickly have come on the scene, if you think back to just kind of like the little pat, like two or three function, things that we'd give our kids, when, you know, maybe we've had kids for 15 years when they were young, to the point that when I remember my kids were you know, five years later we're buying them iPhones and stuff like that. I remember used to craigslist iPhones to make sure that I could get the best deal so I could get all three of them iPhone back then you know, like and, and what we've done is we've put something in their hands without rulebooks. And really, it existed back when we were younger. We had video games we wasn't it wasn't just Pong. It wasn't just Atari. We had the Nintendo and Nintendo Nintendo, right. We had a lot of different things, but it didn't happen to be in our pocket. We would have to go to a place in the house, we would have to sit down, we'd have to, you know, load up the little disc, you know, like, you know, blow on it to make sure it worked, you know? And and then we we'd we'd hook into it. And sometimes we'd have an all nighter. But what we're finding today is is with this behavior, those all nighters are, like regular. In fact, some people are letting their kids set their days up. So they sleep through the daytime, and they go to bed at night. Well, there's a lot of damage that can happen from that. And it's not all bad. I never, I believe in intentional device use but it has become the same resemblance of the criteria for addiction. And so when I started my book projects, one of the things I had to ask myself is what is the most bang for the buck, I could sit up there and aralen and we have teenagers that would fight against it. We'd have parents that don't always agree. But what I did notice is that when we started looking at kids, five, six, even as late as 12 years old, they can still make changes they can still look at a pattern interrupt. And the parents that read the book with them the same. And so rather than taking the Get off your device and go do something with your life approach with the teenager, which is really ineffective, I decided to kind of write the books for my own struggles with my three kids, and really get into the heart of let's engage them with quality time. You know, let's let's find ways that we're not even just pointing to them to say that you're the you're the person with the problem. Let's look at what our parenting has done. And do we actually sometimes spend our own time on devices instead of engaging with our own kids like, and so the macro of this is, is that let's sit with a child. Let's read a book. And that in itself is a quality time measure that overcomes that pattern interruption that we're so like looking for.

Daniel Norton  5:45  
Yeah, and you know, one thing I've noticed with our son too, when we do sit down or especially when you've sat down and read a book with a man is he'll want to just flip through the pages so fast and just see you know, pictures I know it's like very, you know, toddler behavior and stuff, but they're done. seemed to be this correlation of like way he flips through YouTube videos or photos and then he goes into a book and he's just like flipping through all the pages through there so I wonder if there is some kind of a connection there but I do love down

Joshua C. Andrus  6:11  
there measuring that you You brought something I haven't considered in this project but you brought something up there measuring that our attention spans are getting less and less and less. And you bring up one of the main things that is being discussed right now and you know, video gaming and, and other media producers are capitalizing on that. So yeah, no, that's 100% your theory and and observations are spot on.

Amanda Norton  6:35  
So can you tell us about the books you've been writing throughout this COVID experience and everything. They sound so interesting and totally appropriate for right now?

Joshua C. Andrus  6:45  
Yeah, so it's interesting. I started out writing books that just kind of had this the words to it. So I first started with the local area, I believe your Mother Teresa said it best where you know, if you want to change the world, go sweep your front porch and go from there like start where you're at and other Words and I know I've butchered that quote, but at the same time, the idea is, is let's not change the world from like this grandiose scale. Let's start where we're at. And so the very first book, I chose a hike in our area, which is called hikes. Like it's called cows mountain. And it's a wonderful hike, our family had experienced it. And as I started to write, it was really interesting because in the writing, there was certain there were certain lessons that were being pulled from it. So I started there. I did a beach cleanup book later. So the the purpose of the first one was about, you know, persevering, like, these are kids that are no longer in sports, they're a little bit less in shape. These are kids that are also you know, doing other activities, and as parents, like, they were flustered by that thinking, hey, my, I used to coach soccer, so I put a dad in there, the coach soccer ironically, my illustrator made him look similar to me, but you know, like, I used to run these kids two or three miles at a practice and he can't even do a yard like he can't do like what he used to. So they give up halfway up the mountain and mom wants to like Say hey look, if we want their interest we need to go home now kind of what we were saying, Dan, do we lose their interest? Right? And dad wants to push on you know, like, it's he's like the you know, the they're part of me kind of except we don't always cut like so that they can make their own choices. I struggled with that growing up with cheap coaching sports and stuff. vicariously through my kids successes. Yes, I'll admit it right now. I'm already red face so you guys can't see my embarrassment factor. But it grew from there to seeing like when kids don't want to pick up their messes around them while they're distracted by beauty, like so that priorities and so again, family engaging with kids going to the beach and sort of grows from personal responsibility to Hey, we're at the beach. That's beaches messy. It's not gonna let us to enjoy this. This isn't our mess, but this is our beach. So they go all the way from you know that process of No, it's not my pile of mess that house and it is yours. You know, like moms that are Whitson dads. comes home, orders take out so she doesn't have that and sits with them and looks around the yard and goes to the garage and that kind of stuff. So those two are not writing. When we had COVID hit, I'd already written those two. And I got out of my car. I still remember I still work in a clinic. You mentioned Amanda that you're a social worker. So I work with a lot of social workers were combination psychiatry psychologist and social worker, teams. And so I got out of my car and I'm kind of thinking about, you know, my, my, my other pursuits, and I'm thinking Dr. Seuss it start rhyming. So interestingly enough, all of my books now right those first two, I was just quarantine so I went back through and I put them to rhyme as well. So yeah, I was quarantine I was positive exposure, but it's hard to tell if it was a you know, positive covid. So how did it impact my you know, during this time Well, I did a lot of the work When I was at, like on telehealth because I saved an extra hour of, of driving, and I did all the like, remainder of the five books that we have in the series, but the COVID, one in particular, was the first one that we rhyme. So

Daniel Norton  10:14  
have you have you found your books to be receptive and a lot of these areas? Or have I found parents or kids to be receptive coming from like a heavy device use to reading books?

Joshua C. Andrus  10:27  
Yeah, you know, the most rewarding thing for me is not that the books are done, and I'm holding them in hand. In fact, I have my collections over here, like, you know, by the by the interview, like, it's not that it's like this, and it's not that it's finished. It's that I sit down, I'll read the hike, one and a kid will want to go for a hike. You know, it's the action afterwards. So this is really, that was what I was finding, I do a parent workshop. So another way that it impacted is is that I, that I can go to the elementary school and I could read the books and then of course, if the parents engaged with that, that's great. But the more important thing is, is I have coloring pages so the kids are listening To the book looking it up on this looking up at it on the screen, but they're coloring the characters and their hearing. So you know one advantage again with device use this is there's a lot of things going on all at one time and coloring consider a kid, and especially the ATD generation, right? I believe I came from that, like, you'll notice from my answers, I don't stay in one spot like, but the thing is, is that they can color and pick up on it and still like and then when they get done, you hear conversations. Can we go hike cows mountain this weekend? You know, those kind of things just are the most rewarding thing. So yes, it's very well received and a kind of surprises because you know, you do projects like this, you don't know how it's going to connect, you don't know how it's going to hit. But what I find is, is that when people listen in or they engage with it, they're like they're connecting because I put relatable stuff in it. But the kids connect and they're actually sometimes more healthy and willing to do the changing than the parents and and that was what I was a little surprised by. Yeah. And what

Amanda Norton  11:58  
is the age group again for the books, what's your target audience?

Joshua C. Andrus  12:03  
So it's good for ages six to 12. And I wanted to kind of maybe look at it in the sense that it's all depending on the reader, you know, the kids might not enjoy some of the lessons, but if mom and dad are enjoying the lessons, then it connects. But it goes to the 12 age range. Because if you can remember like, I mean, I have one of my favorite books by the side of like, my office like, it is my favorite book of all time by Dr. Seuss. And it's all the places you'll go like so because it's rhyming it does connect.

Amanda Norton  12:34  
So can you tell us what is in your opinion, the healthy amount of screen time for babies, toddlers, teens,

Joshua C. Andrus  12:44  
so I started working with an expert probably eight or nine years ago and and your question is not a really easy one to answer but I love that you ask it I love that you asked Amanda. Because it's it really comes into a place of whatever We talking about now a baby, a baby's impacted by mom who's breastfeeding and doesn't impact the doesn't empathically connect with the child while she's on her phone, we're seeing those damaging effects because whereas before she'd be looking down into the face of the baby, the baby would be looking back and there'd be an empathic development just from that action. And there's some books that are talking about that and some of the research so there's a really big separation emotionally so the person backing up I guess I add, but can still anchor to my point. He he would recommend that the kids don't see more than an hour of screen time. He was a recovering addict to screentime he went through med school and while gaming his whole way through extremely intelligent doctor, like Dr. Don't, he's got a few books in some series out there. But he would say none. Now for me, I look at it in this way. We need to raise awareness first. That's not going to work very, very well when we're we're walking the path with our kids as partners and helping them to make good decision making right and so for me what I would say is intentional media use is the goal? In fact, you know, that's one of the reasons that I named the, you know, media company intentional media is for the reason of when we get on to devices, what is our awareness level? And what questions are we asking ourselves breaking bad for me? When I got on breaking bad, I was not asking myself intentional questions. You know, I work in the field of addiction. I wanted to watch the show because it was recommended and, and my goodness, they have meth and that's what that that show was centered around and, and yet, I went in there and found my first binge, like binge situation, you know, and I wasn't being intentional. It was, you know, the criteria started to connect where, you know, you're putting responsibilities to the side where you might be staying up too late on a binge, and you're waking up the next morning, not your best self. And so I guess for me, the best way to answer is, why are we having questions like these asked in our families to come up with intentional media, resulting answers When I engage with social media, what's my intention? Am I broadcasting that I was on this amazing show that's just launching a podcast with Dan and Amanda. I, or am I going in there and launching it and then coming back to see how it's received. And then I come back two hours later to see how it's received. And it's this feeder button, just like rats would hit a feeder button to get that stimulus of this. Look, somebody connected. And that's what's so dangerous about these devices is that we hit this immediate dopamine reward circuit where Oh, they liked it. Ooh, they liked it. Oh, that person connected, you know, and it's this this short framed rewards. And it feeds itself and so can answer your question. Except for that, are we having those questions asked within families are we coming up with our own family motto for or our own family working that comes in with protecting our kids from, you know, this, this damaging effect? And I would say, having answered that, I would some specifics where kids that are watching screen times past 930 at night that are teenagers is super dangerous. for a lot of reasons, kids that are on screen times a half an hour before bedtime or an hour before bedtime are not going to have the deep REM sleep that's going to be restorative. You know, there's there's different cortisol, different hormones that are getting spiked. And if they're not finding outlets for that, are we increasing their their anxiety levels? You know, and you guys had mentioned this in the pre show, like when we're chatting like, our kids also now not developing social skills as a result. And I think that's the time to kind of, oh, wow, instead of looking at the kid and saying, you know, like, your video games are doing this, this and this, looking at the family model and saying, hmm, are we doing what we need to develop that? You know, are we plugging into the more social church events are we plugging into the more community outreach is a perfect time right now to get kids to go out there and hand out school bag lunches, like, you know, give back you know, that's going to mean a whole lot more when they see that in the future for the next 3040 years of their lives as a raising their own kids that, you know, things aren't free. But I was able to help other people that were in need good social environment as well. But they're also off their devices.

Daniel Norton  17:14  
That is so important. And I think you really touched on some really key stuff there. And especially that, like, often our kids are just like that mirror of us, you know, of who we are, how we run our lives and our families and how they just read basically repeat the things that we that we might not even notice. Like we said, when when we first saw our son swipe away notifications on our phones, while we're sitting there watching it and he's swiping it away. I'm like, how did you learn to swipe away but he's seen me do it over and over. And I'm not even thinking about it, right? It's just kind of just naturally and now he's not thinking about it's just over and over again. And I really do believe that that is key is figuring out exactly what you're saying is that that family dynamic, what works for you and your kids, but also being So self aware about where you as the parent or the parents or guardians, whoever's with with your kids to be seen. And when you work from home, we're just constantly in the same space so I love what you were saying to how some of your books were like get outside and go do things we've had to intentionally plan time where like Amanda and myself and her son went go out somewhere to go do some work, especially location Am I wrong? visit New York City where New York we've really not been able to do much until more recently, but when we've been able to go out like our Bronx Zoo open, let's let's get to the Bronx Zoo, you know, it's limited people we can do those get a membership. Let's do that. That was really good. because it gave us a time to get out of the house for a day to do something he's really interested in, which is like animals and Zoo and all that stuff. And so we're trying to be more intentional with like, hey, every month let's try to figure something because otherwise we're always in this place. And so I think that's really, really awesome. Important. One thing I'd like to ask you is, can you tell me you know about a time where you've seen or experienced whether this with his with your own family or with another or just the time you've seen this where you've experienced a change within a family unit or changes they've had to make? You know

Joshua C. Andrus  19:15  
what? I have to say that this is so new, it's not new. But it's so new that dynamics do change, but they change our micro level. So in other words, when we're out watch, like one of the fun activities, like you're saying, being an intentional, we went well watching the other day, and my kids were engaging the boats. So well, like, I believe you can set the vibe for an environment, right? Like, and my kids were just doing that. I break the ice, I just have no problem breaking the ice anyways, and just kind of let people know like, we're friendly people, right? And yet they took over and by the end, there was a couple people who have the best kids and all this. So I say that. To answer your question. Those dynamics are the ones Like, can we do more of that? So yes, like, in my very own family, like you said, the personal experiences, my kids crave, going and experiencing, they're at the beach right now. They're the beach right now engaging, not on their devices, terrible signal and beach by the way, like, and that's going to change eventually, when people realize it's productive and profitable to have signal on the beach. But the idea and I'm not trying to be conspiracy theorists, but I'm just saying like, that's going to change so that people are enjoying their phones more than the beach eventually, because that's where the eyeballs go is where the profits go. And that's kind of the perspective of people that create like that. So I would say, I've seen the dynamic change, but more on the the, the different times that people go to do different things with their families, and surprise themselves. I can also say that times change in the sense that my kids don't like eating out at a restaurant and that was the biggest thing that I used to enjoy doing with my family and you have to adjust as parents that way. Like, I would look forward to eating out at restaurant like, that was just amazing. And yet kids today they would rather not because you're sitting and it makes sense. They're sedentary. What do they do when they're sedentary? Pull out the phone. No, put it away. No, you know, like, come up with a rule. Well, when the actual main course gets delivered, let's make a little little bit of an agreement and this is again talking to tween and a team right? You know, let's put away the phone and, and I'll let you have until then, you know, and you know, then they have something to work with their hands on when it arrives and that's what I did most recently when we're at a steak house. You know, like the salaries the salaries here I'm not so interested but I do think that when a stick doesn't get eaten, I'm a carnivore, that's a shame. You know, like,

Daniel Norton  21:43  
exactly. Your one thing I really want to talk about. I don't mean to cut him off with it now. Scott, but one thing I definitely wanted to talk about because I really believe this is a this is a concern are going to become a concern with depending on where you live and how they're rest of this year goes and you know, everywhere else we go with that with kids doing from home learning writers doing schooling from home where a lot of a lot of kids are doing eight hours of zoom calls a day. On top of us working from home doing zoom calls with clients are whatever it else it is that you do. But then on top of the zoom calls, it's then doing the homework on the device. And I don't know how old you are even with younger kids, right eight year olds or five year olds can be can be doing this as well. You know, toddlers, maybe not so much. You know, we're Our son is trying to get we're getting him into a school. Hopefully it stays stays open, but we'll see how the rest of the year goes. What do you see with that? Because then let's just put in the normal recreational device use on top of now eight hours on a zoom whether that's on their device, or one thing I see is is when my my books, the word of my books gets out, it's going to be pretty valuable

Joshua C. Andrus  22:58  
because we really are talking about taking things and amplifying and multiplying, and yet at the same time, taking that same problem and looking at the advantage. When we become aware, do we now start having these very good conversations with our kids and saying, Hey, I know you would do it, I do it at work, I do it during a meeting, I'll pull out my phone, and I'll play my favorite whatever, you know, like, I, you know, Angry Birds was one night, I had to put down eventually, because it was just, you know, taking up the time and it was, you know, yeah, yeah, I'll do that during a meeting. But having those more My belief is is for us as adults to help us raise healthy adults. And so, you know, coming up with them with these agreements, and I don't know if this is what you were asking Dan, but like, if it's along the right path, what do I see happening? I see this problem getting so much worse first, and yet the aware parents will be the ones that are having those difficult conversations about, hey, you've been on screen this whole time. Time, what is it that you're doing to balance that out and hearing what they're balancing out not from a place of you're doing something wrong, you've been required to be on these screens. You know, I like looking at the advantage you are on the screen for five and a half hours today. Guess what you didn't have to do. You didn't have to get everything put together. You got to walk two inches into like two feet, depending on the size of your place right into the kitchen. Certainly not two feet. But the idea here is is that it's all convenient. And and made into that way. Now, what did you do for you? Like, are we too are we too young as a child to start hearing about self care and self love? I don't know. I think it's a great opportunity to talk about hey, you know, even climbing into the shower this morning was a great self love thing that you did and someday you'll look forward to it. I had a shower right before coming here after going like snorkeling and and I loved every minute of it before coming onto a show like Do we have these kind of conversations where we can a validate their ability to do this be validated their actions if they did some of this good self care and self love and seek, have them come up with their own solutions. But then also pull this all together and say, Look, this is a much more efficient way to learn, and you guys have been keyed in, since I put the iPad in your lap, in our first doctor's visit, right? As a toddler, and now you guys get to zoom, no pun intended past what the rest of your two or three year kids would be older, the you know, years older than you graduating, didn't get a chance to didn't get a chance to perform in the way that you do. So I think in answering your question, I would say yes, it's going to be a huge problem. But those that are awake to the idea that this is an advantage can do that. And oh, by the way, can we start to look at practices with schools like these sports and stuff, I don't know if you're going to get into this. But seeing the fact that you know, those are only intended to be how to work as a team. Now that your home Do we have creative ways to make you a stronger athlete? And that's the next level. And it's my nickname, by the way, like, but that's taking things next level is is do we look at our athletes and say, hey, look, a lot of people are not getting it. And you're going to be in a place where you can separate yourself and really find the advantages of college sports, you know, when this eventually is no longer a pandemic, right? Like, are you going to be now stronger as a result? Because you just gave yourself two more extra hours of the day, but also when you go back with the teams, my son plays football, he's a freshman, right? He goes back with the team and he's in shape and everybody else has been doing what sometimes device causes. He's going to be head and shoulders above people that are not aware of that very point. You have more time. We don't have to drive you to the zoo. Like the areas we are, you know, we have this workout equipment that hangs laundry most of the time because that's what people do with it. Are you using those things to your advantage? And I thought about a couple of things that weren't being used a mile and I now use

Amanda Norton  27:01  
I love that. Yeah, our cell phones tell us how much screentime I mean, I cringe I get nervous. I'm like, how many hours was like on it this week? It feels like it's like a such a good accountability for us. But kind of going back to the beginning, how do you know what what signs can you see in your children? That they're addicted?

Joshua C. Andrus  27:23  
I love it your social worker? And I want to make sure you tell Yes, because this is referral time, right? Like if as a kid, I love working with social workers. And I might, you know, when your guys's podcast hits lift off, I'm gonna have a lot of CDs and psychiatrists to hear this next line, social workers, favorite of all the licensed providers I work with, by the way, because it's not it's not just a patient in front of them. It's the patient in front of them that gets referred to somebody else that helps them long term. And that's what the question kind of lends itself to, after I kind of talk about DSM five criteria. It's not it's not In the DSM five, and there's a lot it's not in the DSM five, not yet. And I'll go on the record saying the DSM five was half baked, and they were waiting around for it to launch. And they put it out there way before it was completed so that the revised version better be around the corner. Because I agree, you know, it was only two years ago, the world health organization called the video gaming and addiction. All right, so let's go through it real quick. If we were to take a substance and we're going to put it in this might be longer winded, you guys might have to break this up into a second show, but I'm going to do it as quickly. tolerance. Tolerance is what we can see with substances where you use less of the use, you use more and more and more and more to get the same effects. So do we have tolerance for device use? Absolutely. You can end up when you first start and this would be really hard for somebody to remember when they first started using Facebook, how much time you spent on it, right? Now you can look at when you look at your timer, how long you spend on Facebook, or what others so you know, fill in the blank social media. I hope we're not talking about space but no my I have actually relative that helped started that but like, but the idea is is that engaging is actually in order to get that fixed we spend more and more time on the theater button like the you know, the rice the mice rice to get like addicted like the feeder button like more and more time engaging. The second one would be withdrawals. While you guys mentioned in the pre show about the withdrawals when you take away the devices kids. You know, it's it's like when I work with my patient I I actually want to work on the Phantom phone, like theory, because if we have a phantom limb, and after, you know 23 days that you can still feel an itch your toes if you're missing a leg, for example, a phone like we have our patients, they get their phones removed, right? And we do residential care. And so when they when they don't have that phone in their pocket, they'll have what I call the Phantom buzz, you know where it's there, but it's not there. And so do we have withdrawals? Yeah, at the very bottom logical level we have withdraws with synapses that are connected still for where that phone was stored. But even more we see the angst of irritability, restlessness. You have, you know, anxiety when you don't have this device, all these things together, add up to withdraw. Then you have an again, like we could go through all the, you know, DSM five disorder like this is no longer called abuse independence. It's called, you know, what I would call because it's not in there is this video gaming or media use disorder, either mild, moderate or severe. So the other ones would be, you know, examples and again, like we could go through them and I don't have the guide in front of me, but like, inability to control use. Well, that's another one. You know, you have another one where somebody tries to set a goal for themselves to get off of great Breaking Bad I don't know who we might be talking about, and go engage with watching my daughter play soccer and that was my rock bottom. This is a way that otherwise Episode really had me and so I sat out my car and and watch the next episode of Breaking Bad no harm no foul in some people's minds but that was enough for me right? I realized this was not this was this had me I didn't have it, but that that rule you might set yourself and then you blow right past that rule is another criteria for addiction. So it goes on and on but like, you know, these are the signs of it that that this is a very strong parallel for addiction before it's even in the DSM five so, you know, I plan on doing some resource guides and I'm working with somebody right now that's been doing this for a couple years as well. But like that, that I've been doing screenings for patients for the last 20 years it makes it really natural for me to be able to pull that in and and I hope that answers your question Amanda and it doesn't like talk, you know, to to clinically over the heads of our parents but I'm looking over Dan to see because I know that you're the voice and social work of again. Does it make sense layman's terms? I know

Daniel Norton  32:00  
Yeah, I mean, I think I think it makes sense to me when I don't know what half the terms mean. But there's a reason I went to art school and not to like actual school.


yeah, no, I think that makes sense. That's great.

Amanda Norton  32:12  
Um, so are you assisting parents directly right now on zoom? Or are you still meeting with people in person?

Joshua C. Andrus  32:21  
So really, right now I'm getting the word out. And that's for the sake of parents I, I have 80 of my books that are going to go out to principals and influencers and, and that's going to be for the intention of pulling this into like, you know, the, the virtual assembly is really the the goal that I'm after right now that that parents can plug in again. Thank you. COVID for another advantage, right. Like I've ran into these advantages where, oh, no, I have these books for this elementary and I had the lead on this other elementary school and I would have to drive there and set it up and maybe the email didn't go out or the look. We have an opportunity now where it can be brought down. caste and age groups and the parents can enjoy this same workshop with their kids with a PDF download and the coloring pages. So they're coloring along while I read the books, and having a really good conversation that's age appropriate. And thank you for the zoom because people used to like to like this is something that hasn't been discussed. A year ago, half of these kids parents wouldn't even think to go on zoom. They would think it was too frickin technology like technologically advanced. Well, you and I both know what's a click. It's a join. And yet, thank you COVID people are using the same thing that could allow me to get to more parents more quickly.

Daniel Norton  33:39  
It's like looking for the blessing inside of what we could easily call a curse. Obviously, a lot of terrible things have happened to a lot of people with this this over this year and that have have that have caused this but what are we going to do with it? How are we going to view it and this specifically how you view it is then going to help your kids. If you Do these things, which I love with with the book that you're you've come up with, you know, helping kids have a healthy view of the world since COVID. Because it's really about, you know, your point of view how you see the world through what lens? Are you looking at the world, and and looking at your environment and circumstance. And you can blame your circumstance for why you can't do things. But what actions are you taking to do something within your circumstance that can make a big difference?

Joshua C. Andrus  34:29  
Now that you nail it down, that's what I'm about?

Yeah, so the COVID book really was for that reason, the reason I wrote it clear back in March of 2019, we went, and this came out seven to eight days, it was already produced, like ready to publish. Like, it was one of those things that I had taken five months to write my first kids book, and this one was done in eight days over Easter holiday. And now it's all the way to Amazon all the way ready to be shipped, except for something that happened. So I'll get into that in a second. But the idea if we view the world in a place where, hey, this is a problem, my very obstacle overcoming this problem and writing these books without really having a whole lot of mentorship was that way, if I'm overcoming this, I'll be able to turn back and help somebody else overcome this right? The purpose of that very book was if we're a parents talking about this, and in you guys might not be aware of this, but you're in New York City, seeing the tragedy around you. This was the most is the epicenter of the United States and where it happened, la was the next but it wasn't anywhere near what you guys live through in New York City. The uncertainty, everything like that, but as you grew up, you grew further away from that epicenter. People are having conversations that were not sensitive to people that were suffering, and they were not. My, you know, a good friend of mine was sewing masks, because of her culture that has worn masks with SARS for all this time. She got sent home Got degraded and had to do a day of leave, because she wore a mask at work. So if you look at all that people were not ready for this, but they were also having these conversations in front of kids. The purpose of the Coppa book was a to make sure that they were aware social distancing purposes and practices. The book actually has the six feet on it washing your hands for 20 seconds, or more, like making sure you're not the first page illustration has a spitball. Like, we don't do that anymore in class, you know, like, you know, these kind of things for kids. It's more on the side of hey, these were healthy hygienic practices anyways, but then along with that, we have to meet it with that much force for those of us that are awake and alert. The world is really in a place of uncertainty and we have to if we're awake and alert, put those messages out in the best way we can. We have to look at this and not forget our truck drivers are janitors like the janitors are heroes right now and to have That's raised in a home that has that kind of discussion, which isn't, you know, those kind of things mentioned in the book, to have those kind of ideas. Instead of having the kids look at the world confused or start like walking around, where some kids are joking about a covid coffin, like hop on their neighbor like, these are things that we have to meet with as much force with that same positive overcoming, otherwise the world will not, it will be a less of a place of kindness was one of the things I love, like inspired thought, because I hardly can take credit for it. But one of the things that came to me as is learning to smile through my eyes, because my mask is covering my mouth, it's a line in my book, you know, like being more considerate and kind at the grocery stores. These are things that I wanted to, like kind of plant the seeds for. Because, again, there's enough of the stressors that are happening. It's it's palpable. You can feel it in the air, the tension of some of the things that are happening. There's another For people that don't have a comfortable level, touching at this point, and in the book, it talks about how I can still be close with my family, like, still having that outlet of like physical touch during this time. And I think that your point is really well made that this book in itself is a macro project of these feelings that we have inside of us, like helping kids to kind of get wired, a little bit more healthy through this time. And if you think about it, we could raise some of the greatest generation of kids that now look at overcoming through the hard times, and that's really the bigger message is is hard times come adapt and overcome. Like, this is really the mindset that would create one of the strongest mindset generation. You know, they already think they're special. Like we've done that they give them participation, trophies for everything. They already have that mindset. And as much as we can walk and say millennials, this millennials that post millennials this most look, let's build on the fact they They're special. Let's help them to get a voice. One of the last pages is about them projecting and live, which is my daughter's name Olivia is in a lab coat right? Seeing herself as a scientist coming up with a cure for sanitation inoculation for this disease and so let's empower them to already know that they're special they continue to fuel that and then give right behind it a more effective way to learn but fuel it also with our own Generation X Hard Knocks way of learning as well like we have work that still needs to be done. And in that way we can be partners with these this upcoming generation. And let's not sit back and say look, Millennials think they're special to get participation trophies, but build on the fact that get participation trophies and they know they're special because they are

Daniel Norton  39:46  
of it. I love how this episode hasn't gone from like gone to the addiction of these devices is so bad let's just continue to be miserable about it. It's it's really the action of doing something and being intentional with our mindsets intentional how we speak and how We act and live in front of our kids, whether they're newborns because even when you mentioned even with the breastfeeding mom and being on a phone or a dad not being involved, and he's on the phone sitting on the couch or something, how easy that is for us to fall into that. But then with as they get older and become teenagers and everything, all of that still matters and how even more intentional we need to be now,

Joshua C. Andrus  40:21  
I appreciate that I'm seeing that it's it's always good to sit in front of a couple parents that get it you know, like, it's, it's, it's, you know, you guys get giving back you guys. You guys get the podcasting that this is now you produce this episode in an hour's time, but it can be consumed from that one hours time, thousands of hours of time, but it's planting the positivity way of seeing things so that we're not happy, happy high notes all the time. We're looking at the tragedy, but looking behind the tragedy for the blessing as you said it like Exactly. And so it's it's you know, it's the tribe, it's the tribe of people will will bring heaven to earth like they Okay, this is going to be this is where more kind loving thoughts more heavenly type thoughts will be brought during a time that's held for people, you know?

Daniel Norton  41:13  
That's great. So how can our listeners, you know, get your books? How can they get in touch with you if they wanted to reach out?

Joshua C. Andrus  41:20  
Yeah, so you'll one of the things that I decided is, is that the COVID book is free, like, you can buy it on Amazon, but you can get it as a download for free. And there's also one other one and it's up too late. And that's one of the ones that I think a lot of us can experience for the kids. Maybe not you guys, but some of the kids will sneak their devices and stay up too late or maybe super beat after let's say a Saturday of doing podcasts and all this other stuff. We're working at home not kidding guys. You guys are you guys are amazing. By the way. We don't shut it down early enough to still be aware that our kid might be up past that time and and then they get hooked in they're staying up way too late and they sleep in. Those two books are going to be for free for all your listeners if they go to parents overcoming electronics COMM And that's POV I think it's kind of fun because I write books. And there's the famous Edgar Allan Poe, but it stands for parents overcoming electronics comm they can get both of those as a download. They also have the coloring pages that come with them. And just really getting that message out there for all of our, our families that that will stop and listen, and hopefully, again, stop and read to their kids. That's something that's really not, you know, that it's almost like we've moved away from that as the devices come. It's another thing we have to combat like, hey, yeah, we could even read it on our devices. Oh, wait, a book can actually be read to us. Let's stop for a minute. let's engage let's put down the screen and let's actually pick up a book to read our kids and so that's what the purpose of that being a free download for everybody to get. And, again, I like I like get my illustrator credit that he did a great job on those coloring pages too. And, you know, I look forward The days when I get these back so I can see these is some of the kids that did better colors than my illustrator chose. So we'd love that too.

Daniel Norton  43:08  
Yeah, that's great. We're looking at the cover of it right now. And that's awesome. So yeah, you go to that link will also include that link in the show notes. for this episode. If you're if you're interested in being able to get that Checkout, it's Amazon store and learn more about Josh. So thank you so much for being on with us today. This was incredible. Yes.

Joshua C. Andrus  43:28  
Parents that no, it's my favorite people to talk to it's, it's it's just the synergy of knowing that you guys are great parents, and you guys are great professionals. And you guys are great givers and so great that you guys are doing podcasts you're giving back to parents that work from home.

Daniel Norton  43:42  
Well, I hope you enjoyed episode three as much as we did. And remember, if you want to go check out Joshua's book, you can go to parents overcoming and if you want that link and anything else mentioned, like his facebook group, or even just to get in touch with Joshua, you can head over to working home parents dot com slash three. That's where you'll find the show notes and transcriptions and more working home slash three. And hey, if you haven't already, remember to hit subscribe so that you can get every episode delivered to you and your favorite podcast app of choice every single week. Thank you so much for listening and I'm looking forward to our next chat.

Ending Music  44:25  
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