Screen Time Rules

When Wasted Time Hurts

Delaney Ruston, MD
July 30, 2019
Girl using phone

I am impressed by the number of tweens and teens who tell me they feel bad about spending a lot of time on screens. These young people say things like "I hate that I wasted the day away."  I then ask if they ever talk about this feeling at home. Generally, they say "no" because they don't want their parents to say something like "yeah, see I told you so," or "well, you should have known and just gone outside.”

It is summer now, and plenty of youth are spending many hours on screens. Finding ways to help them identify the feelings of "time wasted" can then help them to learn how to resist the urge to be on screens. Even if your child will not openly say they feel like they are wasting time, now is a great time to have a conversation because it will surely come up again during the school year when they are trying to finish their homework but the urge to check social media or watch a Youtube video keeps them from reaching their goal of finishing their work. Suddenly homework is not done and it is 10 PM, or later, much later.

Here are four ways you can share your strategies not to waste time to help them foster their own

  1. Talk about times you choose to indulge in screen time for entertainment. Maybe it's when you finish a big work project, or it is your one night a week when you watch extra TV. Your kids might be surprised that you have thought this through. Modeling this idea is essential.
  2. Talk about how you find that it is so easy for you to avoid doing something challenging and to do something that feels like “wasted time” to you such as watching way too many movie trailers (i.e. me). The challenging task could be something like calling a friend you need to resolve a conflict with, or calling your tax accountant, or calling HBO yet again to cancel your online subscription, and they keep saying they will have someone call you, but they never do.
  3. Talk about the idea of a "Precommitment strategy," a term coined by a Nobel-prize winning economist named Thomas Schelling. His concept was to organize things in a way that would ensure success by setting up systems that would make it difficult for you to back out later, and thereby fail at your goal. If you know you waste precious sleep time by bringing your screen into your room at night, the precommitment strategy would be to set a rule for yourself to not to bring the screen into your room so that you will not even have to deal with the dilemma of going on your screen and then to tell yourself to stop.  
  4. How do you forgive yourself when you end up feeling like you "wasted time?" This act is important to identify because when we beat ourselves up for doing what we had set out not do, we often then react by continuing to do the activity that made us waste time. For example, "wasting time" watching yet another Black Mirror episode might make you upset that the bills did not get paid. Then, as a way to soothe yourself from the stress and self-deprecation this brought on, you go right back to watching more episodes. Instead, if you you can stand back a moment, breath, and use your self-compassion and resilience tools to say something like "I needed to watch all those for a reason," or "I am not sure what it was, but I am going to let this pass and not get anxious over it," or "I will begin again," or "I will try tomorrow." Whatever you say to yourself, share with your kids.

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.

HOST A SCREENING to help spark change.
FIND EVENT LISTINGS

Do you organize professional development in schools? We now have a 6-hour, 3-part training module. Request more information here Professional Development.

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


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

When Wasted Time Hurts

Delaney Ruston, MD
July 30, 2019
Girl using phone

I am impressed by the number of tweens and teens who tell me they feel bad about spending a lot of time on screens. These young people say things like "I hate that I wasted the day away."  I then ask if they ever talk about this feeling at home. Generally, they say "no" because they don't want their parents to say something like "yeah, see I told you so," or "well, you should have known and just gone outside.”

It is summer now, and plenty of youth are spending many hours on screens. Finding ways to help them identify the feelings of "time wasted" can then help them to learn how to resist the urge to be on screens. Even if your child will not openly say they feel like they are wasting time, now is a great time to have a conversation because it will surely come up again during the school year when they are trying to finish their homework but the urge to check social media or watch a Youtube video keeps them from reaching their goal of finishing their work. Suddenly homework is not done and it is 10 PM, or later, much later.

Here are four ways you can share your strategies not to waste time to help them foster their own

  1. Talk about times you choose to indulge in screen time for entertainment. Maybe it's when you finish a big work project, or it is your one night a week when you watch extra TV. Your kids might be surprised that you have thought this through. Modeling this idea is essential.
  2. Talk about how you find that it is so easy for you to avoid doing something challenging and to do something that feels like “wasted time” to you such as watching way too many movie trailers (i.e. me). The challenging task could be something like calling a friend you need to resolve a conflict with, or calling your tax accountant, or calling HBO yet again to cancel your online subscription, and they keep saying they will have someone call you, but they never do.
  3. Talk about the idea of a "Precommitment strategy," a term coined by a Nobel-prize winning economist named Thomas Schelling. His concept was to organize things in a way that would ensure success by setting up systems that would make it difficult for you to back out later, and thereby fail at your goal. If you know you waste precious sleep time by bringing your screen into your room at night, the precommitment strategy would be to set a rule for yourself to not to bring the screen into your room so that you will not even have to deal with the dilemma of going on your screen and then to tell yourself to stop.  
  4. How do you forgive yourself when you end up feeling like you "wasted time?" This act is important to identify because when we beat ourselves up for doing what we had set out not do, we often then react by continuing to do the activity that made us waste time. For example, "wasting time" watching yet another Black Mirror episode might make you upset that the bills did not get paid. Then, as a way to soothe yourself from the stress and self-deprecation this brought on, you go right back to watching more episodes. Instead, if you you can stand back a moment, breath, and use your self-compassion and resilience tools to say something like "I needed to watch all those for a reason," or "I am not sure what it was, but I am going to let this pass and not get anxious over it," or "I will begin again," or "I will try tomorrow." Whatever you say to yourself, share with your kids.

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.

HOST A SCREENING to help spark change.
FIND EVENT LISTINGS

Do you organize professional development in schools? We now have a 6-hour, 3-part training module. Request more information here Professional Development.

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


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