Our clinical team received a call recently, regarding Sarah, a young girl who spends too much time in front of screens. This may seem like the run of the mill issue facing children today, but the background to Sarah’s story provides insight into why her case is different.
A few years ago, Sarah’s father left their family in Israel and moved back to the United States. He didn’t tell anyone and no one has heard from him since. In that time Sarah’s mother has been struggling to raise her children while dealing with the blow of having her spouse abandon her. Sarah was not receiving the emotional attention she needed as a developing teenager. Additionally, she needed to deal with the confusion and pain which she feels in response to her father leaving. Having no one to turn to, Sarah turned to screens.
Sarah was set up with her mentor, Shoshana. Shoshana had a hard time engaging Sarah who had been spending so much time alone in front of the television or computer watching a plethora of different programs. Sarah was unreachable. So, Shoshana sat with her, in silence, as they watched programs together. After a number of weeks Sarah said “I don’t like this show very much.” Shoshana was elated, and told Sarah that they could watch something else if Sarah wanted. This seemingly benign comment was a big step for Sarah which, with the patience and support of her mentor, is slowly bringing Sarah back into the world she has been hiding from.