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Technology Overuse: A Step-by-Step Guide to Assessment and Treatment for Children, Adolescents and Families

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Melissa Westendorf, PhD, JD
2 Hours 38 Minutes
Audio and Video
May 08, 2020
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Digital Recording
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We are in uncharted waters when it comes to children’s technology usage and what it means for the psychological issues that will arise from it. With each passing year, mental health professionals are being forced to find answers for the negative aspects associated with this ever-increasing integration of technology and kids’ lives.

It is imperative that we share the best information we have available to us to help this vulnerable population. We can’t stop the advancement of technology, but we must collectively find ways to minimize the negative impacts that can come with it.

Join Dr. Melissa Westendorf in this recording as she navigates through:

  • The impact that technology has on a child’s developing brain
  • How to assess technology overuse and how much of an issue it is for your client
  • The 4 main areas that are impacted by technology in children
  • Special considerations for children who have ADHD, Autism, or Anxiety
  • Effective clinical strategies for working with children who are having issues with technology, as well as their parents.

Dr. Westendorf is a psychologist, attorney, and co-founder of the Technology Wellness Center. In her practice, she has assessed multiple young adults faced with legal consequences for behaviour that was driven, in part, by technology overuse, which began in adolescence. The legal cases prompted her to co-found the Technology Wellness Center to provide tools and counselling to parents and children struggling with technology overuse issues.



This online program is worth 2.5 hours CPD.



Melissa Westendorf, PhD, JD's Profile

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Technology Wellness Center

Melissa Westendorf, PhD, JD, is a clinical and forensic psychologist and founder of the Technology Wellness Center. As a clinician, she has provided therapy to adults and adolescents in the community and within the correctional setting. Dr. Westendorf’s forensic practice is dedicated to assessing adults and youth in either the criminal justice system or in civil matters. As a technology wellness expert, she is dedicated to assisting parents, children, adolescents, and adults on understanding the complexities of technology use and the impact on our brains, emotions, and interpersonal relationships. Dr. Westendorf’s legal training coupled with her clinical background enables her to work with individuals who are experiencing the legal ramifications of technology use.


As a proactive psychologist and educator, Dr. Westendorf is a keynote speaker at academic institutions, parent organizations, businesses, and community groups, offering preventative tools and resources that educate others on how to manage technology use in a healthy manner. She is the co-author of Unplug! Raising Kids in a Technology Addicted World. She has served on the Committee for Legal Issues for the American Psychological Association and on the Psychology Examining Board for the state of Wisconsin. Dr. Westendorf has been appointed as an expert in high profile legal cases, featuring the psychological ramifications of technology use. Her expertise has been relied upon in a wide variety of articles, podcasts, radio segments, and television programming. She has been featured on NPR (National Public Radio), Wisconsin Public Radio, and ABC’s 20/20. She is a monthly contributor to The Morning Blend.


Speaker Disclosures:
inancial: Melissa Westendorf is the founder of Technology Wellness Center, LLC. and maintains a private practice. She receives compensation as an international trainer. Melissa Westendorf receives royalties as a published author. She receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Melissa Westendorf is a member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, the American Psychological Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and the International Association of Correctional and Forensic Psychologists.


  1. Articulate the possible impacts of technology overuse on the cognitive development of children.
  2. Implement techniques to assess technology overuse by a child and the issues that it may be causing.
  3. Determine how to approach sessions with children involving autism, ADHD, and Anxiety.


How to Know if a Child’s Technology Use is a Problem

  • Technology and a Child’s Brain
  • Cognitive Processes Impacted by Heavy Technology Use
    • Impulse Control, Attention, Focus, Organization
  • Assessing Technology Overuse
  • The Argument of Overuse versus Addiction
  • What is the “Technology Use Continuum” (TUC) and How to Use It

The Four Areas Impacted – And Strategies to Deal with Them

  • Behavioural
    • Loss of Interest in hobbies
    • School Performance
    • Withdrawal from Family Interactions
    • Lack of Focus
  • Physical
    • Lack of Exercise
    • Lack of Time Spent Outside/Vitamin D
    • Sleep Problems
  • Emotional
    • Loneliness
    • Depression
    • Self-Esteem/Self-Worth
    • Lack of Emotional Development
  • Interpersonal
    • Impact on Interactions with Peers
    • Understanding Social Cues
    • Bullying
    • Digital Safety

Special Considerations

  • Autism
  • ADHD/Anxiety
  • Pornography
  • Social Media

Challenging Situations

  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Violent Behavior
  • Online Predators

Clinical Solutions and Strategies

  • Questions to Ask in Session
  • What is the Root Cause for the Initial Appointment?
    • Is Technology THE Problem or Only Part of the Problem
  • What are the Parent’s Goals for Working with a Clinician?
  • Ongoing Therapy or Treatment Plans
  • Providing Parenting Guidance and Solutions

Legal Issues to Consider

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • School Psychologists
  • Teachers
  • School Administrators
  • Other Helping Professionals Who Work with Children


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