Time Reduction Tools

How To Resist The Vortex Of Click Bait

Delaney Ruston, MD
January 18, 2022
Magnet showing pulling in people

Today is my third in a four-blog series focused on talking about phone time — and overall tech time — with our kids in a chatty, conversational way that doesn’t trigger a defensive reaction, and it’s about the pull that screen time has on us, the ADULTS. We all know this is by design; all types of tech companies (social, gaming, Netflix, YouTube, etc.) do a lot to keep adults and youth hooked on their platforms with persuasive tech designs.

Why focus on adults today? Teens have told me they get frustrated that so much focus is directed at them around being hooked to screens. They know issues around persuasive tech affect all of us. 

This frustration often manifests as defensiveness. Just the other day, I was giving a talk, and a father mentioned how he had been trying so hard to get his teen daughter to watch the documentary, Social Dilemma, but she would have no part of it. He explained that his daughter was defensive about her social media use and thus did not want to see a film that looked at its darker sides.  

To show our kids and teens that this is truly affecting all of us, I am passing on examples adults have recently shared with me about the tech temptations they struggle with and ways they try to resist. 

The intention of this blog is not only to offer you examples that might help you but also to offer examples you can share with your youth. 

Let me start with me.

Join
440
others who have made the pledge!
Thank you for making the pledge!
Please try again
Book page button

Available now - Parenting in the Screen Age, from Screenagers filmmaker Delaney Ruston MD

Order Here
Find A screening Button

Find a Screening - Find a screening of our movies in your local community

Learn More
Screenagers Podcast

Screenagers Podcast - Join Screenagers filmmaker Delaney Ruston MD for the latest Podcast

Learn More
Book page button

Available now - Parenting in the Screen Age, from Screenagers filmmaker Delaney Ruston MD

Learn More
Host a Screening Button

Community Screenings - Learn more about hosting your own Screenagers community screening event!

Learn More

Today I asked Tessa what I had told her regarding any tech pull. She mentioned the one I have regarding being pulled by the videos that YouTube feeds me with top actors in them — think interviews on late-night shows or with Ellen, for example. She couldn’t recall any strategies I use to prevent going down that rabbit hole if I am trying to get work done. Good time to talk about this…

I told her, 

  1. I don’t have a kryptonite vest that makes me “actor-interview proof,” even though I wish I did.
  2. I wish there were a way to have my YouTube page not place all the pictures of other tempting videos right on the screen. 
  3. I said if she ever finds a way to please, PLEASE let me know. After all, the best way to resist an undesired temptation is to not have it there in the first place. 
  4. I told her that my primary strategy is to work really hard not to glance at the suggested videos. I literally turn my head to the side or squint my eyes to keep myself from looking at them.
  5. The other thing I do is decide to take a break and indulge in some interviews. I am pretty good at telling myself how long I can watch for — I will say, ok, I will take a 5-minute break, or 10-minute break — whatever it is. This precommitment helps me stay on track about 80% of the time. It’s not perfect but not too shabby. 

Here are other examples from other folks I queried.

One woman told me:

“I check IG way too much. Mindlessly, looking for something fun to come in via DM.  And watching the number of “likes” grow. I push it away as soon as I can, but it might be ten or more minutes.  And reels can reel me in.  I get enjoyment out of watching babies learn to walk and cat antics.
I did finally move my phone away from the side of my bed so that I would not be tempted to look something up in the middle of the night. I  immediately slept better. It took me years to do that.“  — Janet, from CA.

Another woman told me she was feeling really pulled by her news apps, such as CNN and NYT,  In order to not be so tempted by them, she moved them off her phone’s home page. This small act made a pretty big difference. Sallie from WA

Another person emailed me,

“Binge-watching Spanish language series is a pull for me. I tell myself I am listening to and learning Spanish slang. I can stay up really late watching episode after episode when I know I need to sleep. In order to stop myself, I have to become involved with a healthier substitute that is not addicting like a book or an evening class or event.”  — Patricia from WA
Host a Screening Button

Community Screenings - Learn more about hosting your own Screenagers community screening event!

Learn More
Find A screening Button

Find a Screening - Find a screening of our movies in your local community

Learn More
Screenagers Podcast

Screenagers Podcast - Join Screenagers filmmaker Delaney Ruston MD for the latest Podcast

Learn More
Book page button

Available now - Parenting in the Screen Age, from Screenagers filmmaker Delaney Ruston MD

Learn More
Host a Screening Button

Community Screenings - Learn more about hosting your own Screenagers community screening event!

Learn More


A friend’s husband said,

“I recently took the Twitter app off the home screen of my phone. I would spend way too much time scrolling through news which spiked my cortisol. When I have to work harder to open Twitter, I use it with more intention, for answering questions and less doom scrolling.” — Sam from CA

Here is one final thing. One woman told me how she uses Apple Screen Time to set limits on her own social media use. The problem is when the time is up and the app asks if she wants 15 more minutes, she, like so many people, often says “Yes,” despite her original intentions. 

She recently heard about a time management app that, instead of just requiring hitting a button to get 15 additional minutes, it requires you to write a sentence about why you want that extra time. She thinks having to stop and have that active moment of reflection – “Why do I want this extra time?” — would help her resist more often. The problem is she can’t recall the name of the app. If anyone knows an app that does this, please let me know, and I will pass it on to her and all of you in a future blog.

Ideas for conversation starters:

  1. Consider asking your child if you have ever told them what tech time things pull you, and what have you told them regarding strategies to resist? 
  2. Use an example from above, or one of your own, to talk about how adults try to manage the pulls they feel. 
  3. Tell them about the time management app that requires you to write a sentence to extend time, and then challenge them to please find it for you. *The great thing is they will see how many such apps are out there. And, the reason why? Because we need help!
Book page button

Available now - Parenting in the Screen Age, from Screenagers filmmaker Delaney Ruston MD

Order Here
Find A screening Button

Find a Screening - Find a screening of our movies in your local community

Learn More
Screenagers Podcast

Screenagers Podcast - Join Screenagers filmmaker Delaney Ruston MD for the latest Podcast

Learn More
Book page button

Available now - Parenting in the Screen Age, from Screenagers filmmaker Delaney Ruston MD

Learn More
Host a Screening Button

Community Screenings - Learn more about hosting your own Screenagers community screening event!

Learn More
Parenting In The Screen Age Book Cover

Free Book Preview - Download a free preview of "Parenting In The Screen Age" by Delaney Ruston, MD

Learn More
Host a Screening Button

Community Screenings - Learn more about hosting your own Screenagers community screening event!

Learn More
Find A screening Button

Find a Screening - Find a screening of our movies in your local community

Learn More
Screenagers Podcast

Screenagers Podcast - Join Screenagers filmmaker Delaney Ruston MD for the latest Podcast

Learn More
Book page button

Available now - Parenting in the Screen Age, from Screenagers filmmaker Delaney Ruston MD

Learn More
Host a Screening Button

Community Screenings - Learn more about hosting your own Screenagers community screening event!

Learn More
Parenting In The Screen Age Book Cover

Free Book Preview - Download a free preview of "Parenting In The Screen Age" by Delaney Ruston, MD

Learn More
Time Reduction Tools

How To Resist The Vortex Of Click Bait

Delaney Ruston, MD
January 18, 2022
Magnet showing pulling in people

Today is my third in a four-blog series focused on talking about phone time — and overall tech time — with our kids in a chatty, conversational way that doesn’t trigger a defensive reaction, and it’s about the pull that screen time has on us, the ADULTS. We all know this is by design; all types of tech companies (social, gaming, Netflix, YouTube, etc.) do a lot to keep adults and youth hooked on their platforms with persuasive tech designs.

Why focus on adults today? Teens have told me they get frustrated that so much focus is directed at them around being hooked to screens. They know issues around persuasive tech affect all of us. 

This frustration often manifests as defensiveness. Just the other day, I was giving a talk, and a father mentioned how he had been trying so hard to get his teen daughter to watch the documentary, Social Dilemma, but she would have no part of it. He explained that his daughter was defensive about her social media use and thus did not want to see a film that looked at its darker sides.  

To show our kids and teens that this is truly affecting all of us, I am passing on examples adults have recently shared with me about the tech temptations they struggle with and ways they try to resist. 

The intention of this blog is not only to offer you examples that might help you but also to offer examples you can share with your youth. 

Let me start with me.

More Like This

Robbers Entered And Stole My Teen's Phone, And Better Ways To Manage Phone Time
January 11, 2022
Time Reduction Tools

Robbers Entered And Stole My Teen's Phone, And Better Ways To Manage Phone Time

I heard the floorboards creak and thought it was my husband and daughter getting ready to go to the mountains for the day. I heard the front door shut loudly and figured they had left. I fell back asleep. Sometime later, I heard the floor creaking again. I yelled out, “Peter, Peter, are you still here?!” He replied, “Yeah, we haven’t left yet.” Read my blog to find out what happened, AND tips for better ways to manage cellphone time

READ MORE >
Options To Communicate With Your Kids Without A Smartphone
November 23, 2021
Time Reduction Tools

Options To Communicate With Your Kids Without A Smartphone

With the holidays coming, you might be thinking about buying your kid a phone. In today's blog, I include some reviews of non-smartphones and some experiences and recommendations from other parents.

READ MORE >
Tech Shabbat With Tiffany Shlain And Her Daughter
June 7, 2021
Time Reduction Tools

Tech Shabbat With Tiffany Shlain And Her Daughter

As the world starts to open up more, and household members are newly pulled in different directions, I thought it was the perfect time to consider how families can create routines to feel connected. In today's TTT, I share with you a weekly break from tech that one family calls Tech Shabbat.

READ MORE >

parenting in the screen age

for more like this, DR. DELANEY RUSTON'S NEW BOOK, PARENTING IN THE SCREEN AGE, IS THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE FOR TODAY’S PARENTS. WITH INSIGHTS ON SCREEN TIME FROM RESEARCHERS, INPUT FROM KIDS & TEENS, THIS BOOK IS PACKED WITH SOLUTIONS FOR HOW TO START AND SUSTAIN PRODUCTIVE FAMILY TALKS ABOUT TECHNOLOGY AND IT’S IMPACT ON OUR MENTAL WELLBEING.  

ORDER HERE
Parenting in the Screen Age book cover