Screen Time Rules

Find Out What Your Friends Are Doing About Screen Time

Delaney Ruston, MD
November 15, 2022
Alarm clock on computer

We live in a society with a loud and clear message: “Family life is private life.” When things go awry, the memo most of us were raised with tells us, "You and your family should deal with it on your own.”

Then the tech revolution tsunami hit and flooded all of our homes. What was the response? Was there a national invitation to get all concerned people together to share what was happening to their kids and families and to find solutions? Of course not. Instead, it was every family for themselves.

I decided to make the Screenagers movies to bring communities together — to stop family silos — and inspire post-screening conversations about helpful strategies. 

Research has shown that people are particularly influenced by their peers, and this doesn’t just apply to teens. Adults are influenced by their peers, too.

In countless post-screening Screenagers and Screenagers Next Chapter discussions I’ve run, I have watched entire rooms perk up when people share screen time limits they have tried and what has or has not worked. So often, one person sharing something vulnerable is the catalyst needed to get others to share as well. 

The other night, I was leading a post-screening Q&A with parents of elementary school-aged kids, and a parent stood up and asked a question. She mentioned that in her home, they use tech to shut the wifi off at 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends. She emphasized this has made a big difference in their home. 

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Other audience members started sharing things they had experimented with after her comment. After the Q&A, I saw parents gather to continue the sharing. 

Hearing ideas from people in our circles can significantly impact us in many ways. For example, it might get us to try something new, and being able to follow up with the person who shared the idea can get us through challenging times. Another thing is that parents often believe other parents are much more permissive around tech than they actually are.

Here are ways you can help instigate more sharing of screen time parenting approaches with your friends and the greater community.

  1. Create a shared Google Doc with two columns, one labeled “screen time limits that have worked” and one that says “limits that have not worked that well” and email it to friends and ask them to put in their responses. Tell them they can put their name by their responses, or they can not if they want to be more anonymous.
  1. Create a shared Google Doc that has some form of this prompt: ”How old is your child/ children? What screen time limits do you have —  such as rules around times of day you can use, what you can use, and places you can and can’t use? If you can, say a bit about whether it’s working well or not.”
  1. Google Docs can be shared with colleagues from work,  a PTA group, parents of kids on a sports team, dance team, school band, etc. 
  1. Consider facilitating a gathering of friends and neighbors intended to create conversation around screen time. You can also do this via Zoom or make it a hybrid event — both in person and online for those that can’t get child care, etc. 
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One final thought, since I am always on the hunt for more tech time-out ideas to share with all of you, please consider sending me any answers to the questions above. This will help me share more ideas — anonymously —  with our wonderful Screenagers community. By the way, thank you for being a part of it.

Questions for your kids and family to get the conversation started:

  1. Ask your kids what screen time rules they can think of that exist in the house.
  2. Now, share what you link the screen time rules are in the house.
  3. Ask them if they can think of a rule you had when they were younger and how it has changed over time.
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Screen Time Rules

Find Out What Your Friends Are Doing About Screen Time

Delaney Ruston, MD
November 15, 2022
Alarm clock on computer

We live in a society with a loud and clear message: “Family life is private life.” When things go awry, the memo most of us were raised with tells us, "You and your family should deal with it on your own.”

Then the tech revolution tsunami hit and flooded all of our homes. What was the response? Was there a national invitation to get all concerned people together to share what was happening to their kids and families and to find solutions? Of course not. Instead, it was every family for themselves.

I decided to make the Screenagers movies to bring communities together — to stop family silos — and inspire post-screening conversations about helpful strategies. 

Research has shown that people are particularly influenced by their peers, and this doesn’t just apply to teens. Adults are influenced by their peers, too.

In countless post-screening Screenagers and Screenagers Next Chapter discussions I’ve run, I have watched entire rooms perk up when people share screen time limits they have tried and what has or has not worked. So often, one person sharing something vulnerable is the catalyst needed to get others to share as well. 

The other night, I was leading a post-screening Q&A with parents of elementary school-aged kids, and a parent stood up and asked a question. She mentioned that in her home, they use tech to shut the wifi off at 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends. She emphasized this has made a big difference in their home. 

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