Who knows the family screen time rules?

Tech Talk Tuesday #43
Are you and your family on the same page with screen time rules? 

When my daughter Tessa, who is in Screenagers, saw the completed film, I was shocked by one of her first reactions. She said, ”I didn't realize so many other kids are dealing with all this rule stuff like we are." Of course, she had been with me over the years as I was making the film, and yet somehow, she did not know how common it is for families to struggle with setting limits. She went on to tell me how rarely any of her friends talked about their rules around screen time. 

I know that we as parents often feel judged about our parenting and specifically parenting around tech time. The reality is that some rules and some limit-setting is a good thing.  There is an interesting study in Pediatrics, the Official Journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics, that found:

"Rules that were consistent and that were reported by both parents and children were associated with the lowest prevalence of children exceeding recommended screen-time limits"

In this Sunday’s New York Times there was a piece by a writer who informally surveyed people in his social media channels about their rules on screen time. This inspired this week's Tech Talk Tuesday:

Are you and your family on the same page with screen time rules? 

  • Bedtime: Is there a time devices go off? Can devices be in the bedroom? Where do they go in the house if not in the bedroom?
  • Homework: Can you have a computer out while doing homework? Can you have a phone out? Can you respond to texts, messages, Snapchats while doing homework?
  • Gaming: Are there rules around amount of time and or type of gaming? How about where you can game?
  • Social Media: Are there rules around time spent? Specific apps you can or can't use? Are there times you can't use social media?
  • Passwords: Do the parents in the house have passwords to every device and every account? 
  • Meals: Can you have your device out at meals?
  • We created this survey that we’d love you to fill out with the answers that you come up with above (don't do it at the dinner table because we don't want you to have devices at meals.)

 

Is there a time and a place you unplug each day? Each week?

Is there a time and a place you unplug each day? Each week?

With Thanksgiving this week, it is a good time to think about the various practices of “unplugging." 

To help find times to unplug, a good starting point is to think more about when our kids are not on screens during each day, rather than when they are on screens. From there it's easier to set guidelines around unplugging. I’ve heard about many creative approaches to unplugging:

 

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    How can you use this election as a way to talk to your kids about bullying?

    How can you use this election as a way to talk to your kids about bullying?

    Candidates have used screens for good and for evil this election. They've used it to bully as well as to inspire.  Talking to your kids about this issue is a great way to open up the conversation about how they define bullying. Talk your teens today about how they, and you, used social media, polling data and other ways to get engaged and informed about the election this year.
     

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    Sleep: Is this one time you can separate from your phone?

    Sleep: Is this one time you can separate from your phone?

    Tech Talk Tuesday #39
    Does your teen sleep next to his/her phone?

    A new meta analysis published in Jama Pediatrics confirmed how portable devices like cellphones and tablets are seriously affecting our children's sleep.  Sleep is one of the biggest pediatric public health issues of our time. I hear this firsthand when I ask groups in the post screening discussions "who sleeps with their cellphones their room?" Most hands in the room go up.

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    Pediatricians have new screen time guidelines... what are yours?

    Pediatricians have new screen time guidelines... what are yours?

    Tech Talk Tuesday #38
    What are your rules when it comes to your kid's screen use?

    This week the American Academy of Pediatrics released new recommendations on screen time.  

    They now recommend that children younger than 18 months “avoid digital media use (except video-chatting),” but kids 18 months and older can use digital media. They also say that children 2 to 5 years should limit their time to one hour a day and for youth 5 years and older they now don't really have a recommended cap on screen time.

     

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    How many "Snapstreaks" does your teen have going?

    How many "Snapstreaks" does your teen have going?

    Tech Talk Tuesday #35
    Does your teen have any "Snapstreaks" currently?

    Do you know what Streaks are?  Snapchat has something they call Snapstreaks that count the consecutive days you send a Snap to the same person. My daughter has some Snapstreaks that are more than 200 days long. To keep a "streak" going both people must send a Snap back-and-forth within 24 hours.

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    How to talk to your kids about sexting...

    How to talk to your kids about sexting...

    Tech Talk Tuesday #33
    Do you talk to your kids about sexting?

    A recent article in the Washington Post about sexting and a podcast called Note to Self got me thinking about the subject. “Sexting” is the exchange of sexually explicit images between minors (17 years or younger) via tech, usually cells phones.  A study from 2012 found that roughly 20% of U.S. adolescents between 13 and 19 reported having sent, or posted, a nude or semi-nude photo of themselves, and 28% said they received a sext message intended for someone else. 

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    Cellphones at school, what are the rules?

    Cellphones at school, what are the rules?

    Tech Talk Tuesday #32
    What is a phone's role at school?

    My daughter is in 9th grade in a junior high, and my son in the high school, and it seems every year they, and I, are not entirely clear on the rules at school around cellphones. Tessa tells me that one teacher has a zero tolerance policy. On the first day he told them that if he catches them with a phone, he will put it on his desk—In this first week, he has not confiscated one during her class.  Another “more chill” (in Tessa’s words) teacher says if you finish your work you can be on your phone. He added that there are “appropriate times to be on your phone and non-appropriate times.”  I’m eager to have a Tech Talk Tuesday tonight with my kids about how this is all working...the different rules, their desire to check their phones versus their need to pay attention, etc. 

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    Homework and screen time, what's the plan this year?

    Homework and screen time, what's the plan this year?

    Tech Talk Tuesday #31
    How do you balance homework and screentime?

    Screen time and homework can be a real problem. Our children often need screens to do their homework and then are automatically vulnerable to distraction when they need concentration the most. Famous research out of Stanford showed that when people multitask they feel as if they are doing better and better at the different tasks but actually they are doing worse and worse on all of them. 

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    Staying connected, then and now...

    Staying connected, then and now...

    Tech Talk Tuesday #30
    How do you contact your friends and family through technology?

    When I was young I saw the Truffaut film, Small Change, that made me want to be French. I started working at various jobs at 12 and by 16, I was able to pay my way to France for a summer to travel alone. Ok, why am I telling you this? Well, I remember trying to stay connected with people back home in Berkeley and spending a lot of time picking out postcards to send. I remember hoping the postcards would get home before I did—geez, did postcards to take forever back then, and even now they still take so long. I thought this would be a great conversation to have for Tech Talk Tuesday this week. Here are some questions to get the conversation going:

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    4 Tips for creating a screen-time contract for the new year

    4 Tips for creating a screen-time contract for the new year

    Tech Talk Tuesday #29
    What’s your back-to-school screen time plan?

    As summer break nears its final days and I see the fall frenzy of school-and-everything-else schedules coming my way, I am preparing for the transition. As I envision the back-to-school scene for our family, I know we have a lot of adjustments to make to get ourselves into “fall mode”. Amidst considerations around supplies, extracurriculars, transportation, and meals is of course…managing screen time.

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    Creativity in our lives, on and off line

    Creativity in our lives, on and off line

    Tech Talk Tuesday #28
    How do you use technology creatively?

    When we screened Screenagers to employees at Pixar, the organizer Guido Quaroni, V.P. of Software R&D at Pixar (and also the voice Guido in Cars) and I talked about their recruitment efforts. He told me that the hardest people to find for Pixar were good story writers, animators, designers...  not programmers. The creatives, however, he said ... "Ahhh, man, that is hard."

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    Let's talk about science..

    Let's talk about science..

    Tech Talk Tuesday #27
    How much do you know about the science behind modern technology?

    Today we are talking about exploring science through technology. There are many ways to spark a conversation with your kids about science including watching YouTube videos together. Tessa and I like watching “How It's Made" videos. We just watched one on how natural rubber is made and the images are incredible.  And I just posted this interesting Ted Talk about using virtual reality to bring science to life in the classroom.  In Screenagers we show researchers talking about the latest science around screen time and brain development, the social science around empathy and self-esteem, and the science of parenting.

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    A vacation from notifications: Try turning off notifications on a summer trip

    A vacation from notifications: Try turning off notifications on a summer trip

    Tech Talk Tuesday #25
    If you and your family don't want to unplug for your vacation, how
    about just turning off notifications instead?


    According to a Gallup Poll, 70% of teens check their phone
    several times an hour. We know that is true for many adults too. Constant notifications from social sites, texts and more play a big part in this compulsion. 

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    Pokémon: what's all the hype?

    Pokémon: what's all the hype?

    Tech Talk Tuesday #24
    How is this game different than all the other games you do?

    Pokémon GO is has taken the country by storm, and it's not just kids, adults are playing too. According SurveyMonkey, Pokémon Go has become the biggest mobile game in the history of the US. The app now has more than 21 million daily active users, which surpassed the very popular game Candy Crush when it was at its height in 2013.

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