The home of "Tech Talk Tuesdays"
In the New York Times this last week, there was an article about social media and teens. The article's brilliant graphic captured our young people's digital and emotional reality. The image is all the notifications on their phones, laptops, tablets, etc. like texts from “mom” reminding them to be safe, a new grade posted, a Snapchat arrival, a missed Facetime, a troubling news headline, etc. Stress flies at them in so many ways. Today, I suggest a way to have a notification intervention.
“Having calm, consistent conversations has greatly improved screen balance in my home and I have written hundreds of articles to help others through my weekly Tech Talk Tuesdays newsletter and blog.”— Delaney Ruston, MD Physician/Filmmaker"
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What do AI, substance use, and video gaming have in common? They all can tempt people, including youth, to engage in sneaky behaviors, including youth. Kids can feel tempted to do shortcuts, workarounds, or cheat for various reasons. Perhaps they hate a subject in school and want to get the homework done but don’t actually want to do it. Maybe reading is painfully difficult for them due to something like dyslexia, so they want to find a way to avoid having to do it. Perhaps a teen knows that their family has a rule that does not allow them to play a specific video game because of its intense violent graphics and misogyny. Yet that is the game many friends are playing and want to join in. Maybe an 8th-grade boy is with a group of friends at lunch, and someone pulls out a vape pen and starts passing it around. Do they partake in this sneaky and illegal behavior? Today, I explore the temptations and three things to say to kids and teens that can help strengthen their wise-minded brains and add a little more weight to the healthier decision-making side of the scale.READ MORE >
When was the last time you can recall apologizing to your child or teen? Apologizing to kids can have multiple positive effects. And, if you are not in the habit of doing this much, today is a great day to consider offering one out of the blue. Today, I review a few reasons why apologies are such a powerful part of parenting, a key part of nurturing a stronger relationship and teaching communication skills. I also share an apology I gave my daughter not that long ago.READ MORE >
A few weeks back, a teen told me to listen to Emma Chamberlain’s (a mega young influencer) podcast episode, Nicotine Addiction. In the episode, Chamberlain reveals that she has been vaping for several years and has finally decided to try to quit. I appreciated that Emma spoke about how she purposely never revealed her vaping habit to her audience until then because she never wanted to influence anyone to start vaping. I applaud her for that. Sadly, many other influencers did not make similar choices when they decided to be paid by Juul Labs, Inc. to influence millions of young people to start vaping. Today, I share some of the dirty tactics used by the nicotine industry and then, most importantly, discuss things we, and our youth, can do to make a difference.READ MORE >
Today I share my top 3 main screen time categories and offer many options of rules that can be tailored to your specific family. Let’s be real that policies for a 10-year-old will be different for a 17-year-old. Then there are factors such as kid’s maturity levels, outside activities, sibling dynamics, bandwidth of parents/guardians, and the list goes on. For this reason, having many ideas can be helpful. Let’s get started.READ MORE >
It’s back-to-school time and an ideal time to readdress screen time at home. Ahhhhh, so not easy! When we approach emotionally triggering topics with our kids, having a road map, including specific things to say, can be extremely helpful. I know all too well that without those things, my reactive brain can take over, and everything can go sideways. Eleven years now into studying the intersection of biology, psychology, communication science, and parenting screen time, I offer my top 3 steps for creating new or cementing existing tech time policies as back-to-school kicks off.READ MORE >
One thing that is key in our work together is ensuring we include the voices of young people — something that, of course, is present in the Screenagers film trilogy. Their input is crucial, and that is why I have 2 important questions for us to ask them as they transition back to school. As you know, I am particularly focused on improving our kids' mental health, especially in the aftermath of COVID. One major lever is decreasing personal devices in schools. Below are the two top questionsREAD MORE >
There are more opportunities than ever before — via screens — that can cause micro and macro moments of jealousy in our lives. (I will use the words “jealousy” and "envy" interchangeably even though I have meaty discussions about the nuanced differences). For example, these days, a teen may learn that the loner 9th-grade boy down the block is actually a TikTok star getting loads of attention and brand deals. Gone are the days when one had to be a Scott Baio to get all that attention. Today a teen might see, via Snap Maps, that the “it” girl from last year at school is spending loads of time with the boy she likes. Gone are the days when seeing such a thing meant you were in the same location. Or, a teen might see via a Snapchat story that the “cool crowd” were out at the park drinking alcohol. The teen might not be into drinking, but just seeing all the photos of the night can forge jealous feelings. Jealousy is a big, broad, and bullish topic worthy of discussing today.READ MORE >
Educators and parents unite worldwide to create new policies keeping cellphones away for the entire school day. Research consistently shows the benefits of phone-free classrooms, as students admit their devices hinder concentration and studying. The empowering "Away For The Day" campaign, launched in 2017, has enabled parents and educators to effectively bring these policies to schools. Discover how countries like the Netherlands, Finland, and France are embracing the initiative, along with similar efforts in Australia and England.READ MORE >
In the news, podcasts, social media, and shows, there is a lot of talk about magic mushrooms, aka “shrooms,” and their potential benefits through their psychoactive component called psilocybin. For example, people talk about how consuming mushrooms can create life-changing experiences in full or microdoses. In addition, there is a lot of buzz about the important research being done to uncover potential medical applications. However, what concerns me is that all these media outlets often fail to address the risks of psychedelics and ways to prevent such risks. I’ve written this blog to offer an effective way to talk to teens about these risks, knowing that such conversations can be tricky.READ MORE >
The moment we talk about drugs and the brain, it is common for teens to say to themselves, “There goes those adults saying we are frying our brains by just smoking some weed.” For my latest film, I was thrilled to find neuroscientist Dr. Yasmin Hurd and her cutting-edge research to explain in a calm, direct, convincing way without resorting to scare tactics. Watch with your kids a captivating 3-minute clip from the film where Dr. Hurd explains the most current research on brain development and the effects of exposure to the chemical THC, the psychoactive component of weed.READ MORE >
Today, I'm writing (and podcasting) about skillful ways to respond when tech rules get broken by our kids, which is one of the most challenging aspects of parenting. It's important to acknowledge that when I mention rules related to screen time, I’m referring to rules developed through family efforts and input from kids whenever possible. I will give some specific examples of what a parent might say in an effort to validate when kids are indeed following a rule.READ MORE >
With summer in full swing, it's the perfect opportunity to catch up on any of my Screenagers’ Tech Talk Tuesdays you may have missed (I know today is Wednesday, not Tuesday, but I wanted to respect the holiday). During the school year, there are scores of obligations to attend to. Hopefully, things have slowed a bit, and you can grab a glass of iced tea and read from this curated list of my most-read blog posts from the last 12 months.READ MORE >
Discover the powerful strategy of a "love ambush" in the quest to become a mental health warrior. Delaney unveils the transformative impact of showing up unannounced to support those facing mental health challenges. Through personal stories and practical advice, she shows listeners (and readers) an approach to combatting isolation and building a caring team for teens who are struggling.READ MORE >
Summer is heating up, and today I'm exploring how we can help teens have a better understanding of what makes up positive romantic relationships, including physical intimacy. In a past survey, teens between the ages of 14 and 17 were asked what sources help them understand sex. They responded that helpful information was most likely to come from parents, 31%, and 22 % from friends. We're a great resource if we want to take on this challenge and get better at it.READ MORE >
In today’s blogcast, I share recommendations for podcasts that you can listen to with your family this summer. So why these recommendations? Well, one of the objectives of the screenagers movement is finding ways to connect youth and adults for meaningful conversations, not just about tech in our lives, but ways to help build in our kids' critical thinking, empathy, communication skills, and I’m just a strong believer that listening to podcasts together and then discussing them can be a really terrific way to do that. It's also a way to celebrate one of the pearls of our tech revolution: the ability of people to become podcasters and to share science, stories, advice, and more. Read today’s blog for a list of podcasts I recommend.READ MORE >
This summer I'm recording podcasts based on my Screenagers' Tech Talk Tuesday blogs. I'm calling these BLOGCASTS. Today I'm talking about a summer reset, both in terms of screen time policies in our homes and ideas for things to do off screens.READ MORE >
Today, United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released a new Advisory on social media and youth mental health. Read today's blog for why we must act NOW.READ MORE >
I have been thinking about ways jobs can help us feel better about ourselves. When my family and I hang out with other families, I often ask the adults what jobs they had when they were teens. I also ask the kids if they have had jobs. As our kids consider working this summer, now is the time to talk about the upsides of these experiences, including the mental health upsides! Read today’s blog for ideas on how to start the conversation. AND see a clip from our new movie.READ MORE >
The U.S. Surgeon General announces a national framework to rebuild social connection and community in America. In his announcement, he said, “ …we have to renegotiate our relationship with technology, creating space in our lives without our devices so we can be more present with one another.” Today I share how I helped one dad navigate loneliness and isolation happening in his home with his teen.READ MORE >
Since I was a teen, I have been uncommonly drawn to wanting to understand the emotional pain points of being human. In all sorts of casual situations, I gently direct conversations away from chit-chat into discussions about the hard things happening in our lives. In most of my conversations with my friends, I share at least one struggle happening in my life. I do this in hopes that I and others will find ways to maneuver through the pain and find paths to get through it in positive ways. I call this “Optimizing Pain.” Learn more in today’s Tech Talk Tuesday.READ MORE >
When I saw this sticker in a bookstore, it made me laugh. I asked myself, “Is this what it has all come to?” Fortunately, I know that it is being tongue-in-cheek. Then I remembered that people can get unexpectedly irritated when texting, and someone chimes in — like my husband. Fact: humans can become highly irritated by what seems like minor things for some inexplicable reason. Our wired world provides many such situations. I would wager a hefty sum of money that everyone reading this experiences levels of annoyance by things people do tech-wise that feel out of proportion to the actual act. Today I offer several personal examples from my family and others and four ways to address these dilemmas.READ MORE >
Today, I’m writing about cannabis — or, as teens mainly refer to it, weed. Weed is by far the most common term. “Pot” is rarely used by younger people. I have worked hard in my clinic to refrain from using that word. I also do not use the term marijuana, although that term often gets used in research papers. In today’s blog, I write about four important topics and questions to discuss with youth in your life.READ MORE >
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and I propose we use it as a time not to be overly fixated on the topic but to use it as a time to have one or two calm conversations. In today’s blog, I guide you through some topics and ideas to bring up with your kids about what they see in shows, movies, music videos, and social media and how it might influence their decisions.READ MORE >