Screen Time Rules

Watch What Happens When Kids Have No Screen-Time Rules

Delaney Ruston, MD
March 6, 2018
Animated image of boy with laptop tangled in wires

Last week Good Morning America ran a powerful story about the intense pull of screens and why having and enforcing, limits are so important ... and hard.  If there is any way you can make the time to watch the 3-minute video with your kids, teens or students—you will be so glad you did.

The video shows what happens when a couple allows their four children ages 6 to 11 to have as much screen time as they want for 48 hours. The kids often used more than one screen at the same time, and the producers counted all screens used when calculating times—so 3 hours with two screens going would be counted as 6 hours.  The total time on screens for each of the kids came to 16, 29, 35 and 46 hours over the course of the two days. On Sunday night when the experiment finished, and the parents took their devices away, the kids had major meltdowns.

Knowing which rules, limits, and guidelines to have can be confusing for parents, and then comes the work of implementing them consistently which can be exhausting. While filming Screenagers, I learned how reticent parents are to share their screen time rules. The fear of being judged as “lazy and too lax” or “overly controlling” prevents many of us from telling others the rules we are trying (I count having no rules as a type of rule setting).

The reporter for the Good Morning America story, Becky Worley, wrote an accompanying blog to her segment in which she reveals her own family rules:

“I have been covering and studying this issue (tech) for a long time. As a result, I am super strict with my 10-year-old twins: No screens at all during the week and only TV shows on the big screen on the weekends. No YouTube, no tablet games, no Xbox or PlayStation in our house. My two exceptions are planes and hospitals.”

And to my point, she adds:

“This is the first time I’m writing about what our family does because I don’t want to seem judgmental; there are a million different types of kids, family situations, and techniques for parenting.”

If the video motivated you to rethink the limits in your home, here is a free online tool to help which is put out by American Association of Pediatrics (AAP). If you have rules, but they need a refresh, now could be that time.

For this week’s Tech Talk Tuesday here are some ideas to get a conversation going about limits:

  1. Why is tech so absorbing? In the Good Morning America video can you relate to how much the kids were on tech when things were rule-free?
  2. Do you think there should be spaces with no tech devices? Which ones?
  3. What times should tech be turned off?
  4. If you are a youth, do your friends ever mention the rules they have in their homes? If you are an adult, do your parent friends ever mention the tech guidelines and rules they have?

March 6, 2018


Join
442
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
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
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

Join Today - Members can screen and view our movies year-round, access new lesson plans, resources and much more!

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

Join Today - Members can screen and view our movies year-round, access new lesson plans, resources and much more!

Learn More
Screen Time Rules

Watch What Happens When Kids Have No Screen-Time Rules

Delaney Ruston, MD
March 6, 2018
Animated image of boy with laptop tangled in wires

Last week Good Morning America ran a powerful story about the intense pull of screens and why having and enforcing, limits are so important ... and hard.  If there is any way you can make the time to watch the 3-minute video with your kids, teens or students—you will be so glad you did.

The video shows what happens when a couple allows their four children ages 6 to 11 to have as much screen time as they want for 48 hours. The kids often used more than one screen at the same time, and the producers counted all screens used when calculating times—so 3 hours with two screens going would be counted as 6 hours.  The total time on screens for each of the kids came to 16, 29, 35 and 46 hours over the course of the two days. On Sunday night when the experiment finished, and the parents took their devices away, the kids had major meltdowns.

Knowing which rules, limits, and guidelines to have can be confusing for parents, and then comes the work of implementing them consistently which can be exhausting. While filming Screenagers, I learned how reticent parents are to share their screen time rules. The fear of being judged as “lazy and too lax” or “overly controlling” prevents many of us from telling others the rules we are trying (I count having no rules as a type of rule setting).

The reporter for the Good Morning America story, Becky Worley, wrote an accompanying blog to her segment in which she reveals her own family rules:

“I have been covering and studying this issue (tech) for a long time. As a result, I am super strict with my 10-year-old twins: No screens at all during the week and only TV shows on the big screen on the weekends. No YouTube, no tablet games, no Xbox or PlayStation in our house. My two exceptions are planes and hospitals.”

And to my point, she adds:

“This is the first time I’m writing about what our family does because I don’t want to seem judgmental; there are a million different types of kids, family situations, and techniques for parenting.”

If the video motivated you to rethink the limits in your home, here is a free online tool to help which is put out by American Association of Pediatrics (AAP). If you have rules, but they need a refresh, now could be that time.

For this week’s Tech Talk Tuesday here are some ideas to get a conversation going about limits:

  1. Why is tech so absorbing? In the Good Morning America video can you relate to how much the kids were on tech when things were rule-free?
  2. Do you think there should be spaces with no tech devices? Which ones?
  3. What times should tech be turned off?
  4. If you are a youth, do your friends ever mention the rules they have in their homes? If you are an adult, do your parent friends ever mention the tech guidelines and rules they have?

March 6, 2018


More Like This

5  ways to respond when tech rules get broken
January 17, 2023
Screen Time Rules

5 ways to respond when tech rules get broken

One of THE most challenging things as a parent is knowing how to respond when our kids break rules around screen time. Today I write about what to do when transgressions happen, consulting about the WISE before taking action and why consequences should be short..

READ MORE >
New Year, New Tech Habits: 11 Tips for Setting Screen Time Rules with Your Kids
January 10, 2023
Screen Time Rules

New Year, New Tech Habits: 11 Tips for Setting Screen Time Rules with Your Kids

Having policies/ rules around tech is valuable and worth the work. But I am the last to claim that this is easy. You may know my personal story from Screenagers, where you saw me learning the hard way how critical it is that we find ways to involve our kids in defining screen-tome rules with us — vs. my initial, more top-down techniques. In today’s blog, I give 11 rules/policies to consider for the New Year. And I also include a couple of recent studies you may want to share with your kids.

READ MORE >
How Can Unspoken Screen Rules Help in the New Year?
January 3, 2023
Screen Time Rules

How Can Unspoken Screen Rules Help in the New Year?

As the New Year begins, it's natural to think about resolutions and ways to improve our habits and routines. But instead of focusing on revamping screen time rules, I've been thinking about the moments when my family and I turned off, or turned over, our devices and were more present with each other. One of my resolutions was to share these memories with my family. My hope is that it will foster not only a feeling of gratitude but also create a "family piggy bank" of positive experiences to draw upon when tech troubles inevitably arise.

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