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
441
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

Find Out What Your Friends Are Doing About Screen Time
November 15, 2022
Screen Time Rules

Find Out What Your Friends Are Doing About Screen Time

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. Parents often believe other parents are much more permissive around tech than they actually are. In today’s blog, I write about ways you can help instigate more sharing of screen-time parenting approaches with your friends.

READ MORE >
How has Covid Impacted Youth Screen Time? Part 1
March 29, 2022
Screen Time Rules

How has Covid Impacted Youth Screen Time? Part 1

Everyone is trying to grasp where we currently are with screen time and kids and where we will be when the COVID crisis is more fully behind us. Today I highlight some of the key findings in a new report and what we can glean from the data to help in conversations with young people.

READ MORE >
Inside One Family's Phone Rules Conversation
February 1, 2022
Screen Time Rules

Inside One Family's Phone Rules Conversation

Recently two friends of mine — a married couple — told me that they were just about to get their 13-year-old son his first smartphone. They explained that they told him that they would get him one once he reached 8th grade and did well academically during the first part of the school year. They explained to their son, I’ll call him Charlie, that they needed to set up expectations and ground rules around the phone, and they wanted him to write down the reasons he wanted a phone and why he felt he needed a phone. Also, they asked him to write some possible rules and ideas about good digital citizenship. They recorded the conversation and today I share some of it with you.

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