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Why kids throw a fit when screen time is up

Whenever the kids played video games, even a little bit, they’d wind up throwing chairs or hitting each other. Every week, psychiatrist Victoria Dunckley would get a similar report from the residential treatment center that employed her: the kids played video games, they got in a fight.

“It was driving me crazy!” she said. She got the center to get rid of the video games. Incidents fell by a third within a month.


Intrigued, Dunckley started trying this digital detox with her other patients, in her clinical practice. These kids didn’t have the same history of neglect or other abuse as the kids in the treatment center. They didn’t have the same hair-trigger fight-or-flight stress responses.


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