Screen Time Rules

Values are the Secret

Delaney Ruston, MD
January 13, 2020
values sign

One of the main ways that I stay grounded while raising emerging adults during our tech revolution is by reminding myself of the power of values. No matter what is happening with my kids' time on screens — including exposure to yucky stuff like upsetting media, unappealing role models, manipulative ads, and on and on — I know that my immediate family, our extended family, and friends, are often modeling and talking about positive values. And those values seep into my kids and will guide them through life.

My job is to live the values as much as possible. That lets my kids experience these values, all the while developing their own as well. A key value of mine is that "I want to parent with integrity." If I know if there is something that scientifically shows an improvement in wellbeing, I work as hard as I can to make sure that happens. When I use this as a framework for doing things like setting a rule around devices out of the bedroom at night for ensuring sleep, I am acting with integrity by making sure this one rule is employed. (As an aside, I recommend this book by Matthew Walker Why We Sleep. It has inspired people I know to make changes in their lives.)

Yesterday Tessa came to hug me goodbye when she was leaving for school. She saw I was reading Real Change, and she joined me for a minute. Real Change is a paper that people, many of whom are experiencing homelessness and other life struggles, sell on the streets around Seattle. They keep the proceeds from each sale (after giving a small portion to Real Change). We enjoy buying this paper and talking with the vendors. As Tessa sat with me, we read our favorite part, which is where they interview one of the vendors. This man had worked in landscaping and became paralyzed. He talked about his life on the streets, overcoming addiction, and now having a place to live. Also, he mentions getting his dog from the animal shelter, which he clearly loves a lot. After reading his story, Tessa and I both looked at each other, and Tessa said, "I'm teary-eyed," and I said, "So am I."

It has felt so incredibly important to me, over the years, to convey to my kids that being a caring person is the crux of a meaningful life. Interacting with people of all backgrounds, with an open heart, is one of the best joys of life. Realizing that when we open up to authentic conversations, we find we are more similar than different and that we generally want the same things in life.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence offers some insight. Researchers surveyed more than 500 middle school students from a high-achieving school and asked them to rank the values their parents prioritized. The researchers found that adolescents who believed that both of their parents valued character traits as much as, or more than, achievement exhibited better outcomes at school, greater mental health, and less rule-breaking behavior than their peers who believed their parents were primarily achievement-minded.

So what values have helped guide me in thinking about screen time limits for my teens? Three of the dozens of these values is something I came up with that I call "The 3 C’s" of values. They are the things I want to make sure my kids get in "real life" and, on screens as well.

"3 C's": CREATIVITY, COMPETENCY, COMMUNICATION

  1. CREATIVITY - I deeply value human creativity. I believe it is an essential part of feeling competent, feeling alive and connected. Research shows that kids 8-18 years old spend just 3% of their time online creating – doing such things as creating music, writing blogs or other such endeavors. The majority of screen time use is consuming which would be things such as watching shows, gaming, or scrolling on social media. What's the problem? This use of attention is underutilizing the teen advantage which is their heightened creative capacity at this developmental stage.
  2. COMPETENCY - Another value is that gaining more competency at different aspects of life is a key to a more fulfilling life — it is key to fully adulting, and the vital part of gaining a stronger sense of self. For example, I’ve encouraged my kids to get comfortable taking various types of public transportation alone starting when they felt ready to do so. I’ve also worked to ensure they gain competency in cooking. All these things meant ensuring they were not just glued to a device.
  3. CONNECTION - Another of my core values is that of connecting with people from all sorts of backgrounds and ages. For example, I have ensured that they have plenty of time and opportunities to have (with devices nowhere in site) conversations with people from all over.  

For this TTT, talk about your values and how they relate to screen time. Consider discussing the "3 C's." Here are a few questions to get the conversation going:

  1. What are some of your core values?
  2. Are there ways you can name that you lead your life with integrity?
  3. Do you see ways that I lead with integrity?
  4. Can you think of people you follow online or offline that do or do not lead their life with integrity?
  5. Which of these values would you want to spend more time cultivating? Creativity, Competence or Connection?

If you want to host a screening of the movie in your community, please fill out this form.

Take a look here to see if there’s a screening near you.

*We would love for you to share this TTT any way that works for you, whether that’s on social media or via a newsletter. If you want to send it out in your newsletter we just ask that you credit us and link to our website, and let us know at lisa@screenagersmovie.com.

Stay in touch with the Screenagers community on Facebook, Twitter and leave comments below.


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Screen Time Rules

Values are the Secret

Delaney Ruston, MD
January 13, 2020
values sign

One of the main ways that I stay grounded while raising emerging adults during our tech revolution is by reminding myself of the power of values. No matter what is happening with my kids' time on screens — including exposure to yucky stuff like upsetting media, unappealing role models, manipulative ads, and on and on — I know that my immediate family, our extended family, and friends, are often modeling and talking about positive values. And those values seep into my kids and will guide them through life.

My job is to live the values as much as possible. That lets my kids experience these values, all the while developing their own as well. A key value of mine is that "I want to parent with integrity." If I know if there is something that scientifically shows an improvement in wellbeing, I work as hard as I can to make sure that happens. When I use this as a framework for doing things like setting a rule around devices out of the bedroom at night for ensuring sleep, I am acting with integrity by making sure this one rule is employed. (As an aside, I recommend this book by Matthew Walker Why We Sleep. It has inspired people I know to make changes in their lives.)

Yesterday Tessa came to hug me goodbye when she was leaving for school. She saw I was reading Real Change, and she joined me for a minute. Real Change is a paper that people, many of whom are experiencing homelessness and other life struggles, sell on the streets around Seattle. They keep the proceeds from each sale (after giving a small portion to Real Change). We enjoy buying this paper and talking with the vendors. As Tessa sat with me, we read our favorite part, which is where they interview one of the vendors. This man had worked in landscaping and became paralyzed. He talked about his life on the streets, overcoming addiction, and now having a place to live. Also, he mentions getting his dog from the animal shelter, which he clearly loves a lot. After reading his story, Tessa and I both looked at each other, and Tessa said, "I'm teary-eyed," and I said, "So am I."

It has felt so incredibly important to me, over the years, to convey to my kids that being a caring person is the crux of a meaningful life. Interacting with people of all backgrounds, with an open heart, is one of the best joys of life. Realizing that when we open up to authentic conversations, we find we are more similar than different and that we generally want the same things in life.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence offers some insight. Researchers surveyed more than 500 middle school students from a high-achieving school and asked them to rank the values their parents prioritized. The researchers found that adolescents who believed that both of their parents valued character traits as much as, or more than, achievement exhibited better outcomes at school, greater mental health, and less rule-breaking behavior than their peers who believed their parents were primarily achievement-minded.

So what values have helped guide me in thinking about screen time limits for my teens? Three of the dozens of these values is something I came up with that I call "The 3 C’s" of values. They are the things I want to make sure my kids get in "real life" and, on screens as well.

"3 C's": CREATIVITY, COMPETENCY, COMMUNICATION

  1. CREATIVITY - I deeply value human creativity. I believe it is an essential part of feeling competent, feeling alive and connected. Research shows that kids 8-18 years old spend just 3% of their time online creating – doing such things as creating music, writing blogs or other such endeavors. The majority of screen time use is consuming which would be things such as watching shows, gaming, or scrolling on social media. What's the problem? This use of attention is underutilizing the teen advantage which is their heightened creative capacity at this developmental stage.
  2. COMPETENCY - Another value is that gaining more competency at different aspects of life is a key to a more fulfilling life — it is key to fully adulting, and the vital part of gaining a stronger sense of self. For example, I’ve encouraged my kids to get comfortable taking various types of public transportation alone starting when they felt ready to do so. I’ve also worked to ensure they gain competency in cooking. All these things meant ensuring they were not just glued to a device.
  3. CONNECTION - Another of my core values is that of connecting with people from all sorts of backgrounds and ages. For example, I have ensured that they have plenty of time and opportunities to have (with devices nowhere in site) conversations with people from all over.  

For this TTT, talk about your values and how they relate to screen time. Consider discussing the "3 C's." Here are a few questions to get the conversation going:

  1. What are some of your core values?
  2. Are there ways you can name that you lead your life with integrity?
  3. Do you see ways that I lead with integrity?
  4. Can you think of people you follow online or offline that do or do not lead their life with integrity?
  5. Which of these values would you want to spend more time cultivating? Creativity, Competence or Connection?

If you want to host a screening of the movie in your community, please fill out this form.

Take a look here to see if there’s a screening near you.

*We would love for you to share this TTT any way that works for you, whether that’s on social media or via a newsletter. If you want to send it out in your newsletter we just ask that you credit us and link to our website, and let us know at lisa@screenagersmovie.com.

Stay in touch with the Screenagers community on Facebook, Twitter and leave comments below.


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