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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.


School’s In...And So Is Anxiety

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, 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

Brain Biology and Preventing Excessive Video Gaming

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, Physician 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 video game overuse.

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

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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How Influencers Make All Their Money

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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Absolute Yes To Fighting Less

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

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

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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How To Spot And Stop the Spread of Disinformation

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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Inoculating Youth With the Truth About Vaccines

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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Tips From a Therapist Of Teens With Problematic Tech Use

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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Violence In Video Games And Shows and Why Should We Care

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, Dr. 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

Recovered Gaming Addict Shares His Story And Advice

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 Cam is an international speaker to youth and their parents about video gaming. Today 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