The screenagers podcast

Join Delaney Ruston, MD, a leading authority on parenting in the digital age and the filmmaker of the award-winning Screenagers movies, as she explores strategies for raising screen-wise and tech-balanced youth. Through interviews with researchers, thought leaders, and young people themselves, The Screenagers Podcast delivers the latest in science along with practical tips. Most episodes are geared for parents, kids and teens to listen to and thus spark common ground for inspired conversations.

Latest EpisodeS

Jonathan Haidt Explains the Youth Mental Health Crisis

June 10, 2024

Are social media, smartphones, and the sheer amount of time that young people are on screens really the main reason for the rise in mental health problems of today’s youth? On today’s episode, we delve into this pressing issue with Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist, and author of the current New York Times bestselling book, "The Anxious Generation". His insights provide a clear and compelling explanation of why this indeed is likely the case. Beyond just correlational studies, what do actual experiments show us about the link between teen mental health and screen time? Why is the time of puberty particularly concerning when it comes to handing over smartphones and social media? Why does social media seem to impact girls more negatively than boys? These are just some of the questions that today’s episode addresses. In addition, Haidt offers two solutions for improving teen mental health. This episode is not just for adults but also for teens who are directly affected by these issues. Of note, suicidal ideation is mentioned briefly in the episode.

Show Notes

How Media Is Fueling A Risky Sexual Practice Among Teens

May 27, 2024

In today’s episode, Dr. Delaney Ruston talks with author Peggy Orenstein about a media-fueled risky sexual practice that is happening among some teens today — choking, also called sexual strangulation. Orenstein, who has spent many years researching sexuality among youth for her books “Girls and Sex” and “Boys and Sex,” investigated the topic of sexual choking for a New York Times article that was published last month. Today, Orenstein shares some of her findings from that investigation, including the influence of pornography and other media on this new trend. What are the psychological and physical risks of this practice? And what are ways to have productive conversations with young people on this and related topics? This episode also includes a 19-year-old discussing her concerns about sexual choking. This episode is intended for adult audiences.

Show Notes

Screen Time Parenting With Positive Discipline

May 13, 2024

In today’s episode, Dr. Delaney Ruston talks with Casey O’Roarty, M. Ed., who is a well-recognized expert in Positive Discipline, particularly when it comes to tweens and teens. She is the author of Joyful Courage and the host of the Joyful Courage podcast and has spent over 15 years working with families. In this episode, Casey provides real-life anecdotes about when kids sneak screen time when they have meltdowns and other behaviors, and she explores fostering curiosity, addressing meltdowns, and finding the delicate balance between having firmness while fostering a strong parent-child relationship. In addition, another guest, a mother of three kids, shares her experience with ditching her old parenting ways to adopt the Positive Discipline approach.

Show Notes

Mean Behind The Screen

April 29, 2024

Sometimes, gaming is not all fun and games. Foul words and degrading comments are all too common when kids and teens play video games together. From first-person shooter games like Call of Duty to building games like Minecraft and Roblox, competitive banter can be ugly. In this episode, Dr Ruston talks with Dr. Kishonna Gray, assistant professor of digital studies at the University of Kentucky, who researches various human dynamics that occur during video gaming. Dr. Gray works with parents and youth on how to manage the hard parts of gaming culture and shares many insights and solutions on today’s show. A teen gamer adds thoughts as well. This episode is intended for adult and youth audiences.

Show Notes

Absolute Yes To Fighting Less (Rerun)

April 15, 2024

We're bringing back this episode today to help with the common arguments in the home about screen time and what to do. What is a parenting strategy that can promote healthy screen use, and other positive behaviors, while at the same time decrease fighting? In this episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston talks with one of her favorite parenting experts, Dr. Tammy Fisher Huson, about a strategy that has made a real difference in Dr. Ruston's own home.

Show Notes

Acing Screen Time Conflicts with Lisa Damour

April 1, 2024

Parenting kids has always had challenges, but now, in the tech revolution, conflicts are at a new level. The good news is that research shows that conflicts done well have all sorts of benefits for youth. But how do we ensure healthier conflicts? On today’s episode, Dr. Ruston talks with Lisa Damour, Ph.D. psychologist and author of three New York Times best-selling books about adolescents, including “The Emotional Lives of Teenagers.” The episode explores teen psychology, common screen time arguments, and several approaches to having healthier conflicts. The episode is intended for adult and youth audiences.

Show Notes

Snapchat Uncovered - Teens Discuss Pitfalls Of This Popular App

March 18, 2024

Concerns over Snapchat use by its many young users seem to be discussed much less than concerns over TikTok and Instagram. Yet, issues with Snapchat are plenty — be it social conflicts or the sexually explicit material that can be seen on the app. In today's episode, Dr. Ruston discusses these topics and more with a high school boy and a young woman in college. The guests discuss problems created by the App's Snapscore feature, which is a ranking given to users based on how many snaps they send or receive. In addition, they talk about social conflicts that can happen on the app, issues around sexual content, and suggestions to parents regarding when to allow the app and how to talk about it with kids.

Show Notes

Is Social Media Addiction A Real Thing?

March 4, 2024

In this episode, Dr. Delaney Ruston dives into the pressing issue of social media addiction through the story of one young person, Lars, and insights from the chief of addiction medicine at Stanford, Ana Lembke, MD, and longtime media researcher Douglas Gentile, PhD. Through Lar’s struggle with social media addiction, listeners gain an intimate look at the impact of social media on mental health and identity. The episode sheds light on the various ways compulsive social media use can impact a young person and delves into the science behind digital addiction. Ultimately, Dr. Ruston and her guests offer valuable tips on how to know when social media use is in the zone of a clinical addiction and, most importantly, how to help teens who are in that zone, or wobbling there, to break free.

Show Notes

How Self-Compassion Can Make Parenting Easier

February 19, 2024

In this episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston talks to author and psychologist Dr. Kristin Neff, Ph.D., about the power of self-compassion. They discuss the prevalent issue of self-criticism among parents, particularly regarding screen time, and how adopting self-compassion can help navigate such challenges. Dr. Neff and Dr. Ruston share personal parenting experiences along the way. The episode provides practical advice to help listeners, parents, and teens initiate their own self-compassion practice.

Show Notes

How to Address the Hardest Screen Time Parenting Dilemmas

February 5, 2024

In this episode, Dr. Ruston tackles some of the thorniest screen time parenting issues with social worker Charlie Appelstein. Appelstein is the author of the popular book No Such Thing As A Bad Child. Using the framework of strength-based parenting, they explore strategies to help when youth break screen time rules and lie. They talk about creating fair consequences and what to do when teens are overly dismissive and mean to their parents. With over 40 years of working with youth and parents, Appelstein has a wealth of effective interventions at his fingertips.

Show Notes

Decoding Adolescent Decision Making on Screens and Off

January 22, 2024

In this episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Ruston focuses on the science behind teen risky decision-making, both online and offline. Dr. Ruston speaks with researchers who shed light on the latest brain science, helping us better understand the biology behind adolescents' decision-making processes. With insights from experts such as psychiatrist Dr. Anna Lembke and psychologist Dr. Lisa Damour, parents will glean practical advice on guiding their children toward wiser decisions and setting fair consequences for rule-breaking.

Show Notes

How Does Our Digital Age Impact Teen Weed Use?

January 8, 2024

In this episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston explores the complex issue of weed use among teenagers in today's digital world. The discussion delves into how cannabis is portrayed and often glamorized on social media and the potential risks this poses to young people, including addiction and mental health concerns. The episode also sheds light on the cannabis industry’s lack of stringent regulation and the dangers of high THC products. Importantly, Dr. Ruston offers practical strategies for parents to engage in effective and meaningful conversations with their teens about cannabis use.

Show Notes

How Much Do We Really Know About Teen Vaping?

December 11, 2023

On today's episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston dives into the world of teens, vaping, and the cunning tactics e-cigarette companies use on social media. We'll uncover the health hazards of vaping, examine how influencers glamorize it, and we will expose deceptive marketing strategies. Joining me are Dr. Pam Ling and Rob Jackler, featured in my latest film, Screenagers Under The Influence: Addressing Vaping, Drugs, and Alcohol in the Digital Age. They shed light on vaping's dangers and the industry's slick ploys to lure in young people. I also discuss how to empower our youth to see through these manipulations and protect themselves from the vaping industry's grasp.

Show Notes

A Teen Run Instagram Account Shook a School and the Lessons Learned

November 29, 2023

In this episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston interviews journalist Dashka Slater about her new book, Accountable, where she writes about the true story of a social media account run by a small group of teens who posted racist memes. The account spread quickly and got edgier as it went. The book follows the account’s profound effect on the teens, friends, and high school. Dr. Ruston's interview with Slater dives into issues like what compels teens to do things they know are out of bounds, such as acts of racism, the difference between guilt and shame, and transformative justice. Slater discusses methods of communicating with children about preventing doing such acts, and Dr. Ruston provides strategies for them to use when they encounter friends who do, and shares advice for parents and teens on dealing with the repercussions of online racism and the complexities of forgiveness and empathy.

Show Notes

When Screen Time Rules Are Broken

July 11, 2023

Today on The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston discusses skillful ways to respond when your kids break the family tech rules. One of the most challenging things for parents is knowing how to respond when kids break rules around screen time. Dr. Ruston talks about increasing the chances of kids following rules by getting collaborative input from them.

Show Notes

Love Ambush: How To Be A Mental Health Warrior

June 24, 2023

Discover the powerful strategy of a "love ambush" and becoming a mental health warrior. In this episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston unveils the transformative impact of showing up unannounced to support those facing mental health challenges. Through personal stories and practical advice, Dr. Ruston unveils an approach to combatting isolation and building a caring team.

Show Notes

Teen Love, Hookups, And How To Talk About It All

June 19, 2023

Summer's heating up. In today's episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston explores how we can help teens have a better understanding of what makes up positive romantic relationships, including physical intimacy. In a past survey, teens between the ages of 14 and 17 were asked what sources help them understand sex. Thirty-one percent responded that helpful information was most likely to come from parents and 22 % said friends. Dr. Ruston says parents are a great resource if they want to take on this challenge and get better at it.

Show Notes

Podcast Recommendations for the Whole Family This Summer

June 13, 2023

In today’s episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston shares recommendations for podcasts that you can listen to with your family this summer. So why these recommendations? Well, one of the objectives of the Screenagers movement is finding ways to connect youth and adults for meaningful conversations, not just about tech in our lives, but ways to help build in our kids' critical thinking, empathy, communication skills, and Dr. Ruston is a strong believer that listening to podcasts together and then discussing them can be a really terrific way to do that. It's also a way to celebrate one of the pearls of our tech revolution: the ability of people to become podcasters and to share science, stories, advice, and more.

Show Notes

Summer Reset — Online and Offline

June 6, 2023

Youth will have more time to breathe and explore their interests beyond school, but so often, downtime becomes screen time. Summer’s wide open time spans can heighten battles over technology use. This is the perfect time to revisit your family rules, see what’s working and what’s not, and come up with summer guidelines.

Show Notes

One Girl's Experience With Online Gaming And Strangers

December 21, 2021

In today’s episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston talks with an 11-year-old girl, Mira, regarding what she likes about the popular gaming platform Roblox and the video game Minecraft. Mira also shares experiences she’s had with strangers while gaming. Mira discusses specific encounters and how she has handled such situations. Mira’s mom joins for part of the episode. If you have kids who do online gaming, listening to this episode with them can help spark important conversations.

Show Notes

Why Care About Social And Emotional Learning?

August 29, 2021

As teens head back to school with even more emotional challenges than ever before due to the pandemic, providing them tools to address such challenges is crucial. Studies show that Social and Emotional Learning, called SEL, can help improve emotional well-being, academics, and more. In this episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston talks with Jordan Posamentier, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Committee for Children, about what constitutes effective SEL programs and how specifically all of us can advocate for getting SEL into all schools.

Show Notes

Two Moms, Two Experiments In Less Screen Time Podcast Episode

July 27, 2021

In today’s episode, Ruston talks with two mothers who have been working to have specific family times with less screen interference. First is a mom of four and her experience of doing screen-free family Sundays. Learn about the upsides and the challenges. The other is a mom in Alaska who has prioritized reading with her kids and how they keep screens at bay during this sacred time. This episode can be a good launching point for experimenting with new screen-free times in your home.

Show Notes

Parents In Conflict Over Screen Time

July 12, 2021

We've all heard the importance of parents showing a united front to their kids about rules. It’s a good thing to be united, but what about when you’re not? In this episode, Dr. Ruston looks at strategies parents can turn to when in disagreement — whether married or divorced. We gain insights from clinical psychologist Laura Kastner, Ph.D., and school counselor Tammy Fisher Huson, Ph.D., who both have spent decades working with youth and parents. And we hear from the researcher, Doug Gentile, who followed 1400 families for a year regarding family rules.

Show Notes

One Family’s Weekly Unplugging Ritual

June 3, 2021

We are doing episodes on ways families experiment with having specific times for more togetherness and less screen interference. Today's episode of The Screenagers Podcast is with Tiffany Shlain and her daughter, Odessa. Tiffany is the founder of the Webby Awards, a filmmaker, and the author of the book 24/6. The podcast explores her family’s weekly ritual of unplugging Friday night to Saturday evening for “Tech Shabbat.” Tiffany and Odessa explain the what, why, and how of their weekly practice.

Show Notes

Calling All Kids And Adults: Let’s Rethink Cyberbullying

May 15, 2021

When it comes to cyberbullying, what's fact and what's fiction? What do all kids need to know about how to handle online cruelty and how to help those getting targeted? And what can parents and schools do to be most helpful? On this episode of The Screenagers Project, Dr. Delaney Ruston speaks with psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Englander, who has spent decades researching and writing books on these topics.

Show Notes

School’s In...And So Is Anxiety

May 3, 2021

This spring, as vaccination rates increase, more schools are opening their campuses for in-person learning. At the same time, anxiety about returning to school is high for many youth. How do we help our kids and teens who are experiencing anxious feelings related to school? To address this topic on The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston speaks with a high school student and two child psychologists, Dr. Elizabeth Englander, a researcher, and Dr. Laura Kastner, a clinical psychologist.

Show Notes

Recovered Gaming Addict Shares His Story And Advice

February 9, 2021

Frustrated with his obsession with video gaming, Cam Adair wrote a post about his struggles that went viral. This led to his starting a movement that has brought together thousands to work to create a balanced life at Gamequitters.com. Cam is an international speaker who shares his story about gaming addiction and offers advice to youth and their parents. In today's episode of The Screenagers Podcast, he shares his powerful personal story along with his wealth of insights for any youth who enjoys video gaming and any parent who is working to ensure a balanced life for their child.

Show Notes

Violence In Video Games And Shows And Why Should We Care

January 25, 2021

Everyone knows that many young people play video games based on violent themes, and that shows have far more violence than when adults were kids. When COVID hit, many parents started to allow their kids to play games that they wouldn't have before COVID just because it has been such a source of connection and whatnot. In today’s episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston wants to understand what are the ways that this violence impacts our youth. We hear from one of Dr. Ruston’s favorite researchers in this area, Douglas Gentile, Ph.D., a child psychologist who has been doing groundbreaking research in this field for over 25 years.

Show Notes

Tips From A Therapist Of Teens With Problematic Tech Use

December 26, 2020

These days Dr. Ruston hears parents’ concerns around all the video gaming their kids are doing — as well as social media and other screen time and their worries around the risks their kids will develop an addiction to technology. Dr. Ruston talks with Ed Spector, Psy.D., a psychologist who has worked with young people struggling with problematic video gaming and the internet. Learn what gaming disorder is and what strategies Dr. Spector uses with his clients to gain more balance in their tech lives.

Show Notes

Inoculating Youth With The Truth About Vaccines

November 13, 2020

False information about vaccines has been around before social media, but now it can spread that much faster. The results have been deadly. We all want safe and effective vaccines against COVID. Today Dr. Ruston breaks down some of the false information around vaccines, explores amazing vaccine history, and relates this all to COVID. We also hear from kids and from a renowned vaccine researcher, Dr. Parker Small.

Show Notes

How To Spot And Stop The Spread Of Disinformation

October 8, 2020

Now more than ever, it is crucial to have the ability to spot disinformation on the internet. How skillful are our kids at spotting disinformation? In this episode, we meet the director of the Stanford History Education Group, Joel Breakstone, Ph.D., who has researched this topic — and it is not pretty. His team has analyzed how college students, historians, and fact-checkers evaluate websites in order to create effective strategies for spotting disinformation. We learn why the C.R.A.P. Test is outdated, and we hear from teens about how they decide not to reshare a post on social media.

Show Notes

New Science On Sleep, Our Kids, And What To Do

August 28, 2020

With back to school starting, and with all the online and offline stressors our kids are facing, this show is about improving their wellbeing by focusing on healthy sleep. Have your kids and teens listen to this show with you! Hear fascinating insights from Dr. Judy Owens, the Director of Sleep Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital, and a neurology professor at Harvard Medical School. Explore the latest brain research with neuroscientist Adrian Galvan from UCLA and hear ideas from parents and a teen. Learn new ideas around increasing your child’s chance of getting brain nourishing sleep now during these incredibly challenging times, and into the future.

Show Notes

Absolute Yes To Fighting Less

August 10, 2020

Arguments in the home about screen time are common and more so when school is in session, so what to do? What is a parenting strategy that can promote healthy screen use, and other positive behaviors, while at the same time, decrease fighting? In this episode, Delaney talks with one of her favorite parenting experts, Dr. Tammy Fisher Huson, about a strategy that Delaney learned from Tammy in the past and has made a real difference in Delaney’s own home. *And one quick note, past episodes were intentionally created for parents to listen to with their kids, but this one is more geared for parents. That said, if you do share it with your kids or teens, it may spark a helpful conversation about how your communication is going.

Show Notes

How Influencers Make All Their Money

July 30, 2020

It is a brand new world where regular people of all ages can become stars on the internet overnight. But how do young influencers become brand marketers? Is it different for female and male influencers? Kids and teens feel connected and trust YouTubers they follow, but are they aware they are being marketed to? And, how is this type of marketing affecting our kids' self-esteem? Today’s guests include a talent manager for influencers who gives a behind the scenes look at these questions, along with teens who share their personal experiences.

Show Notes

TikTok’s Allure (And How 2 Teens Cut Back)

July 10, 2020

Time on TikTok has been skyrocketing. Why is it attracting such huge numbers of teens? What positives can happen on the app, and what are some of the risks? The sheer amount of time it consumes is what most young people say is TikTok’s biggest downside. On today’s show, Dr. Delaney Ruston speaks with two teenagers, Marie and Manisha, who answer these questions and others. Delaney puts on her metaphorical doctor’s coat when both girls share that they want to change their behavior on TikTok. Delaney helps them decide a plan of action, and then we flash forward to hear how they did with their goals.

Show Notes

Brain Biology And Preventing Excessive Video Gaming

July 1, 2020

Why do some kids and teens get overly frustrated and bored when it’s time to turn off their video games? How to know when game playing has become excessive? What are tips that all families should know for ensuring healthy video game play? In today’s episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston explores these issues along with a new model of brain biology to help explain irritability and boredom associated with video gaming. We hear from teens along with psychiatrist Dr. Clifford Sussman who specializes in helping young people regain tech balance. We also hear from Andrew Fulton who was in the film, Screenagers, when he was getting treatment at an internet rehab center, and is now working at the same center helping others recover from videogame overuse.

Show Notes

Ask a question!

Whether it is about a specific episode, a related topic or anything else, Dr. Ruston and the Screenagers Team would love to hear from you.

Record your question here and Dr. Ruston will try to answer them in upcoming Podcast episodes.

Latest Episode

Jonathan Haidt Explains the Youth Mental Health Crisis

June 10, 2024

Are social media, smartphones, and the sheer amount of time that young people are on screens really the main reason for the rise in mental health problems of today’s youth? On today’s episode, we delve into this pressing issue with Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist, and author of the current New York Times bestselling book, "The Anxious Generation". His insights provide a clear and compelling explanation of why this indeed is likely the case. Beyond just correlational studies, what do actual experiments show us about the link between teen mental health and screen time? Why is the time of puberty particularly concerning when it comes to handing over smartphones and social media? Why does social media seem to impact girls more negatively than boys? These are just some of the questions that today’s episode addresses. In addition, Haidt offers two solutions for improving teen mental health. This episode is not just for adults but also for teens who are directly affected by these issues. Of note, suicidal ideation is mentioned briefly in the episode.

Show Notes

Ask a question!

Whether it is about a specific episode, a related topic or anything else, Dr. Ruston and the Screenagers Team would love to hear from you.

Record your question here and Dr. Ruston will try to answer them in upcoming Podcast episodes.

ALL EPISODES

How Media Is Fueling A Risky Sexual Practice Among Teens

May 27, 2024

In today’s episode, Dr. Delaney Ruston talks with author Peggy Orenstein about a media-fueled risky sexual practice that is happening among some teens today — choking, also called sexual strangulation. Orenstein, who has spent many years researching sexuality among youth for her books “Girls and Sex” and “Boys and Sex,” investigated the topic of sexual choking for a New York Times article that was published last month. Today, Orenstein shares some of her findings from that investigation, including the influence of pornography and other media on this new trend. What are the psychological and physical risks of this practice? And what are ways to have productive conversations with young people on this and related topics? This episode also includes a 19-year-old discussing her concerns about sexual choking. This episode is intended for adult audiences.

Show Notes

Screen Time Parenting With Positive Discipline

May 13, 2024

In today’s episode, Dr. Delaney Ruston talks with Casey O’Roarty, M. Ed., who is a well-recognized expert in Positive Discipline, particularly when it comes to tweens and teens. She is the author of Joyful Courage and the host of the Joyful Courage podcast and has spent over 15 years working with families. In this episode, Casey provides real-life anecdotes about when kids sneak screen time when they have meltdowns and other behaviors, and she explores fostering curiosity, addressing meltdowns, and finding the delicate balance between having firmness while fostering a strong parent-child relationship. In addition, another guest, a mother of three kids, shares her experience with ditching her old parenting ways to adopt the Positive Discipline approach.

Show Notes

Mean Behind The Screen

April 29, 2024

Sometimes, gaming is not all fun and games. Foul words and degrading comments are all too common when kids and teens play video games together. From first-person shooter games like Call of Duty to building games like Minecraft and Roblox, competitive banter can be ugly. In this episode, Dr Ruston talks with Dr. Kishonna Gray, assistant professor of digital studies at the University of Kentucky, who researches various human dynamics that occur during video gaming. Dr. Gray works with parents and youth on how to manage the hard parts of gaming culture and shares many insights and solutions on today’s show. A teen gamer adds thoughts as well. This episode is intended for adult and youth audiences.

Show Notes

Absolute Yes To Fighting Less (Rerun)

April 15, 2024

We're bringing back this episode today to help with the common arguments in the home about screen time and what to do. What is a parenting strategy that can promote healthy screen use, and other positive behaviors, while at the same time decrease fighting? In this episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston talks with one of her favorite parenting experts, Dr. Tammy Fisher Huson, about a strategy that has made a real difference in Dr. Ruston's own home.

Show Notes

Acing Screen Time Conflicts with Lisa Damour

April 1, 2024

Parenting kids has always had challenges, but now, in the tech revolution, conflicts are at a new level. The good news is that research shows that conflicts done well have all sorts of benefits for youth. But how do we ensure healthier conflicts? On today’s episode, Dr. Ruston talks with Lisa Damour, Ph.D. psychologist and author of three New York Times best-selling books about adolescents, including “The Emotional Lives of Teenagers.” The episode explores teen psychology, common screen time arguments, and several approaches to having healthier conflicts. The episode is intended for adult and youth audiences.

Show Notes

Snapchat Uncovered - Teens Discuss Pitfalls Of This Popular App

March 18, 2024

Concerns over Snapchat use by its many young users seem to be discussed much less than concerns over TikTok and Instagram. Yet, issues with Snapchat are plenty — be it social conflicts or the sexually explicit material that can be seen on the app. In today's episode, Dr. Ruston discusses these topics and more with a high school boy and a young woman in college. The guests discuss problems created by the App's Snapscore feature, which is a ranking given to users based on how many snaps they send or receive. In addition, they talk about social conflicts that can happen on the app, issues around sexual content, and suggestions to parents regarding when to allow the app and how to talk about it with kids.

Show Notes

Is Social Media Addiction A Real Thing?

March 4, 2024

In this episode, Dr. Delaney Ruston dives into the pressing issue of social media addiction through the story of one young person, Lars, and insights from the chief of addiction medicine at Stanford, Ana Lembke, MD, and longtime media researcher Douglas Gentile, PhD. Through Lar’s struggle with social media addiction, listeners gain an intimate look at the impact of social media on mental health and identity. The episode sheds light on the various ways compulsive social media use can impact a young person and delves into the science behind digital addiction. Ultimately, Dr. Ruston and her guests offer valuable tips on how to know when social media use is in the zone of a clinical addiction and, most importantly, how to help teens who are in that zone, or wobbling there, to break free.

Show Notes

How Self-Compassion Can Make Parenting Easier

February 19, 2024

In this episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston talks to author and psychologist Dr. Kristin Neff, Ph.D., about the power of self-compassion. They discuss the prevalent issue of self-criticism among parents, particularly regarding screen time, and how adopting self-compassion can help navigate such challenges. Dr. Neff and Dr. Ruston share personal parenting experiences along the way. The episode provides practical advice to help listeners, parents, and teens initiate their own self-compassion practice.

Show Notes

How to Address the Hardest Screen Time Parenting Dilemmas

February 5, 2024

In this episode, Dr. Ruston tackles some of the thorniest screen time parenting issues with social worker Charlie Appelstein. Appelstein is the author of the popular book No Such Thing As A Bad Child. Using the framework of strength-based parenting, they explore strategies to help when youth break screen time rules and lie. They talk about creating fair consequences and what to do when teens are overly dismissive and mean to their parents. With over 40 years of working with youth and parents, Appelstein has a wealth of effective interventions at his fingertips.

Show Notes

Decoding Adolescent Decision Making on Screens and Off

January 22, 2024

In this episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Ruston focuses on the science behind teen risky decision-making, both online and offline. Dr. Ruston speaks with researchers who shed light on the latest brain science, helping us better understand the biology behind adolescents' decision-making processes. With insights from experts such as psychiatrist Dr. Anna Lembke and psychologist Dr. Lisa Damour, parents will glean practical advice on guiding their children toward wiser decisions and setting fair consequences for rule-breaking.

Show Notes

How Does Our Digital Age Impact Teen Weed Use?

January 8, 2024

In this episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston explores the complex issue of weed use among teenagers in today's digital world. The discussion delves into how cannabis is portrayed and often glamorized on social media and the potential risks this poses to young people, including addiction and mental health concerns. The episode also sheds light on the cannabis industry’s lack of stringent regulation and the dangers of high THC products. Importantly, Dr. Ruston offers practical strategies for parents to engage in effective and meaningful conversations with their teens about cannabis use.

Show Notes

How Much Do We Really Know About Teen Vaping?

December 11, 2023

On today's episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston dives into the world of teens, vaping, and the cunning tactics e-cigarette companies use on social media. We'll uncover the health hazards of vaping, examine how influencers glamorize it, and we will expose deceptive marketing strategies. Joining me are Dr. Pam Ling and Rob Jackler, featured in my latest film, Screenagers Under The Influence: Addressing Vaping, Drugs, and Alcohol in the Digital Age. They shed light on vaping's dangers and the industry's slick ploys to lure in young people. I also discuss how to empower our youth to see through these manipulations and protect themselves from the vaping industry's grasp.

Show Notes

A Teen Run Instagram Account Shook a School and the Lessons Learned

November 29, 2023

In this episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston interviews journalist Dashka Slater about her new book, Accountable, where she writes about the true story of a social media account run by a small group of teens who posted racist memes. The account spread quickly and got edgier as it went. The book follows the account’s profound effect on the teens, friends, and high school. Dr. Ruston's interview with Slater dives into issues like what compels teens to do things they know are out of bounds, such as acts of racism, the difference between guilt and shame, and transformative justice. Slater discusses methods of communicating with children about preventing doing such acts, and Dr. Ruston provides strategies for them to use when they encounter friends who do, and shares advice for parents and teens on dealing with the repercussions of online racism and the complexities of forgiveness and empathy.

Show Notes

When Screen Time Rules Are Broken

July 11, 2023

Today on The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston discusses skillful ways to respond when your kids break the family tech rules. One of the most challenging things for parents is knowing how to respond when kids break rules around screen time. Dr. Ruston talks about increasing the chances of kids following rules by getting collaborative input from them.

Show Notes

Love Ambush: How To Be A Mental Health Warrior

June 24, 2023

Discover the powerful strategy of a "love ambush" and becoming a mental health warrior. In this episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston unveils the transformative impact of showing up unannounced to support those facing mental health challenges. Through personal stories and practical advice, Dr. Ruston unveils an approach to combatting isolation and building a caring team.

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Teen Love, Hookups, And How To Talk About It All

June 19, 2023

Summer's heating up. In today's episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston explores how we can help teens have a better understanding of what makes up positive romantic relationships, including physical intimacy. In a past survey, teens between the ages of 14 and 17 were asked what sources help them understand sex. Thirty-one percent responded that helpful information was most likely to come from parents and 22 % said friends. Dr. Ruston says parents are a great resource if they want to take on this challenge and get better at it.

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Podcast Recommendations for the Whole Family This Summer

June 13, 2023

In today’s episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston shares recommendations for podcasts that you can listen to with your family this summer. So why these recommendations? Well, one of the objectives of the Screenagers movement is finding ways to connect youth and adults for meaningful conversations, not just about tech in our lives, but ways to help build in our kids' critical thinking, empathy, communication skills, and Dr. Ruston is a strong believer that listening to podcasts together and then discussing them can be a really terrific way to do that. It's also a way to celebrate one of the pearls of our tech revolution: the ability of people to become podcasters and to share science, stories, advice, and more.

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Summer Reset — Online and Offline

June 6, 2023

Youth will have more time to breathe and explore their interests beyond school, but so often, downtime becomes screen time. Summer’s wide open time spans can heighten battles over technology use. This is the perfect time to revisit your family rules, see what’s working and what’s not, and come up with summer guidelines.

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One Girl's Experience With Online Gaming And Strangers

December 21, 2021

In today’s episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston talks with an 11-year-old girl, Mira, regarding what she likes about the popular gaming platform Roblox and the video game Minecraft. Mira also shares experiences she’s had with strangers while gaming. Mira discusses specific encounters and how she has handled such situations. Mira’s mom joins for part of the episode. If you have kids who do online gaming, listening to this episode with them can help spark important conversations.

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Why Care About Social And Emotional Learning?

August 29, 2021

As teens head back to school with even more emotional challenges than ever before due to the pandemic, providing them tools to address such challenges is crucial. Studies show that Social and Emotional Learning, called SEL, can help improve emotional well-being, academics, and more. In this episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston talks with Jordan Posamentier, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Committee for Children, about what constitutes effective SEL programs and how specifically all of us can advocate for getting SEL into all schools.

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Two Moms, Two Experiments In Less Screen Time Podcast Episode

July 27, 2021

In today’s episode, Ruston talks with two mothers who have been working to have specific family times with less screen interference. First is a mom of four and her experience of doing screen-free family Sundays. Learn about the upsides and the challenges. The other is a mom in Alaska who has prioritized reading with her kids and how they keep screens at bay during this sacred time. This episode can be a good launching point for experimenting with new screen-free times in your home.

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Parents In Conflict Over Screen Time

July 12, 2021

We've all heard the importance of parents showing a united front to their kids about rules. It’s a good thing to be united, but what about when you’re not? In this episode, Dr. Ruston looks at strategies parents can turn to when in disagreement — whether married or divorced. We gain insights from clinical psychologist Laura Kastner, Ph.D., and school counselor Tammy Fisher Huson, Ph.D., who both have spent decades working with youth and parents. And we hear from the researcher, Doug Gentile, who followed 1400 families for a year regarding family rules.

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One Family’s Weekly Unplugging Ritual

June 3, 2021

We are doing episodes on ways families experiment with having specific times for more togetherness and less screen interference. Today's episode of The Screenagers Podcast is with Tiffany Shlain and her daughter, Odessa. Tiffany is the founder of the Webby Awards, a filmmaker, and the author of the book 24/6. The podcast explores her family’s weekly ritual of unplugging Friday night to Saturday evening for “Tech Shabbat.” Tiffany and Odessa explain the what, why, and how of their weekly practice.

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Calling All Kids And Adults: Let’s Rethink Cyberbullying

May 15, 2021

When it comes to cyberbullying, what's fact and what's fiction? What do all kids need to know about how to handle online cruelty and how to help those getting targeted? And what can parents and schools do to be most helpful? On this episode of The Screenagers Project, Dr. Delaney Ruston speaks with psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Englander, who has spent decades researching and writing books on these topics.

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School’s In...And So Is Anxiety

May 3, 2021

This spring, as vaccination rates increase, more schools are opening their campuses for in-person learning. At the same time, anxiety about returning to school is high for many youth. How do we help our kids and teens who are experiencing anxious feelings related to school? To address this topic on The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston speaks with a high school student and two child psychologists, Dr. Elizabeth Englander, a researcher, and Dr. Laura Kastner, a clinical psychologist.

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Recovered Gaming Addict Shares His Story And Advice

February 9, 2021

Frustrated with his obsession with video gaming, Cam Adair wrote a post about his struggles that went viral. This led to his starting a movement that has brought together thousands to work to create a balanced life at Gamequitters.com. Cam is an international speaker who shares his story about gaming addiction and offers advice to youth and their parents. In today's episode of The Screenagers Podcast, he shares his powerful personal story along with his wealth of insights for any youth who enjoys video gaming and any parent who is working to ensure a balanced life for their child.

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Violence In Video Games And Shows And Why Should We Care

January 25, 2021

Everyone knows that many young people play video games based on violent themes, and that shows have far more violence than when adults were kids. When COVID hit, many parents started to allow their kids to play games that they wouldn't have before COVID just because it has been such a source of connection and whatnot. In today’s episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston wants to understand what are the ways that this violence impacts our youth. We hear from one of Dr. Ruston’s favorite researchers in this area, Douglas Gentile, Ph.D., a child psychologist who has been doing groundbreaking research in this field for over 25 years.

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Tips From A Therapist Of Teens With Problematic Tech Use

December 26, 2020

These days Dr. Ruston hears parents’ concerns around all the video gaming their kids are doing — as well as social media and other screen time and their worries around the risks their kids will develop an addiction to technology. Dr. Ruston talks with Ed Spector, Psy.D., a psychologist who has worked with young people struggling with problematic video gaming and the internet. Learn what gaming disorder is and what strategies Dr. Spector uses with his clients to gain more balance in their tech lives.

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Inoculating Youth With The Truth About Vaccines

November 13, 2020

False information about vaccines has been around before social media, but now it can spread that much faster. The results have been deadly. We all want safe and effective vaccines against COVID. Today Dr. Ruston breaks down some of the false information around vaccines, explores amazing vaccine history, and relates this all to COVID. We also hear from kids and from a renowned vaccine researcher, Dr. Parker Small.

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How To Spot And Stop The Spread Of Disinformation

October 8, 2020

Now more than ever, it is crucial to have the ability to spot disinformation on the internet. How skillful are our kids at spotting disinformation? In this episode, we meet the director of the Stanford History Education Group, Joel Breakstone, Ph.D., who has researched this topic — and it is not pretty. His team has analyzed how college students, historians, and fact-checkers evaluate websites in order to create effective strategies for spotting disinformation. We learn why the C.R.A.P. Test is outdated, and we hear from teens about how they decide not to reshare a post on social media.

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New Science On Sleep, Our Kids, And What To Do

August 28, 2020

With back to school starting, and with all the online and offline stressors our kids are facing, this show is about improving their wellbeing by focusing on healthy sleep. Have your kids and teens listen to this show with you! Hear fascinating insights from Dr. Judy Owens, the Director of Sleep Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital, and a neurology professor at Harvard Medical School. Explore the latest brain research with neuroscientist Adrian Galvan from UCLA and hear ideas from parents and a teen. Learn new ideas around increasing your child’s chance of getting brain nourishing sleep now during these incredibly challenging times, and into the future.

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Absolute Yes To Fighting Less

August 10, 2020

Arguments in the home about screen time are common and more so when school is in session, so what to do? What is a parenting strategy that can promote healthy screen use, and other positive behaviors, while at the same time, decrease fighting? In this episode, Delaney talks with one of her favorite parenting experts, Dr. Tammy Fisher Huson, about a strategy that Delaney learned from Tammy in the past and has made a real difference in Delaney’s own home. *And one quick note, past episodes were intentionally created for parents to listen to with their kids, but this one is more geared for parents. That said, if you do share it with your kids or teens, it may spark a helpful conversation about how your communication is going.

Show Notes

How Influencers Make All Their Money

July 30, 2020

It is a brand new world where regular people of all ages can become stars on the internet overnight. But how do young influencers become brand marketers? Is it different for female and male influencers? Kids and teens feel connected and trust YouTubers they follow, but are they aware they are being marketed to? And, how is this type of marketing affecting our kids' self-esteem? Today’s guests include a talent manager for influencers who gives a behind the scenes look at these questions, along with teens who share their personal experiences.

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TikTok’s Allure (And How 2 Teens Cut Back)

July 10, 2020

Time on TikTok has been skyrocketing. Why is it attracting such huge numbers of teens? What positives can happen on the app, and what are some of the risks? The sheer amount of time it consumes is what most young people say is TikTok’s biggest downside. On today’s show, Dr. Delaney Ruston speaks with two teenagers, Marie and Manisha, who answer these questions and others. Delaney puts on her metaphorical doctor’s coat when both girls share that they want to change their behavior on TikTok. Delaney helps them decide a plan of action, and then we flash forward to hear how they did with their goals.

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Brain Biology And Preventing Excessive Video Gaming

July 1, 2020

Why do some kids and teens get overly frustrated and bored when it’s time to turn off their video games? How to know when game playing has become excessive? What are tips that all families should know for ensuring healthy video game play? In today’s episode of The Screenagers Podcast, Dr. Delaney Ruston explores these issues along with a new model of brain biology to help explain irritability and boredom associated with video gaming. We hear from teens along with psychiatrist Dr. Clifford Sussman who specializes in helping young people regain tech balance. We also hear from Andrew Fulton who was in the film, Screenagers, when he was getting treatment at an internet rehab center, and is now working at the same center helping others recover from videogame overuse.

Show Notes