As a clinical psychologist Colleen Hirst has seen the damage the internet and smart technology is having on our children and her advice is that we need to set an example and limit our own screen time.

“We have to do better,” she said. “We have to have smarter practices to keep the “smart” generation safe.” She says setting rules to limit screen time is important. “There is growing concern regarding the link between mental health and internet use.”

“The symptoms are pretty similar to any addiction – but the significant difference is that because we are exposed to screens as a part of day-to-day life from a very early age, our brain development is impacted.

“It can become a problem at any age unfortunately, especially if parents and caregivers aren’t putting consistent boundaries and safeguards in place.”

Colleen, from Merrylands Counselling, was keynote speaker at the Hills Parent Forum on Wednesday March 27 in the Pioneer Theatre at Castle Hill.

SUBTITLED: Managing Challenging Behaviours with Teens in the Family, it was the fifth forum organised by The Hills Domestic Violence Prevention Network (HVPN).

Ken Nathan, the founder and manager of Interventions Plus, spoke about adolescents and anger saying that it was vital parents learnt how to diffuse difficult situations.