Posts in Mental Health
Are you more “real” online or in person?

Tech Talk Tuesday #15
Who is the real you? The online or in person version?

Who hasn’t been tempted every once in a while to be a little bit of something they usually aren’t? A little bolder, better, more opinionated or clever than we might appear in our everyday lives? I remember prank phone calls being a typical middle school way to get into a little mischief and “be” someone else.

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“Mom, did you have to say that with my friends around?”

Tech Talk Tuesday #14
How do you enforce your rules on your children's friends?

If you’ve tuned into Tech Talk Tuesday before, you might already know that in my family, we have decided that the car is a “screens-off” space for all of us. It works great when it’s just us in the car. We talk, we catch up, we sit quietly.

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Followers, Friends, Fans — who’s who?

Tech Talk Tuesday #13
How do your online relationships compare to your real-life ones?

Sometimes things happen in life that make you stop and take stock of who your “real” friends are. Like when I feel anxious and I call my friends to give me some moral support. If I need a hand with a ride somewhere for the kids, I call on my local parent crew. If I want to vent about the latest parenting issue, I might post on Facebook and get some reactions from my contacts around the world.

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Vacation: time to unplug?

Tech Talk Tuesday #11
Do you unplug while on vacation?

Throughout the country spring break has just finally come to a close. But, summer vacation is coming up. What will that mean for screen time in your life? I have some rules to help my family manage screen time while on vacation. We set times that we are all going to check in otherwise we try to disconnect. 

I was recently in remote areas of Mexico with my family and it was both healing and at times distressing to be without cell service or a computer connection most of the time. I managed by setting expectations with the people I work with about when I would be able to check in and when I would be totally unavailable. 

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Do as we say, not as we do?

Tech Talk Tuesday #10
Do you follow your own rules?

I know often kids feel like we adults have double standards. We say one thing, but we don’t do it. We set rules for kids but don’t have rules for ourselves. In our morning drive, for example, my kids and I often notice adults texting while on the road to school or near a school. At restaurants, we see lots adults on their devices during dinner, not just the kids. I can be guilty of breaking my own rules, checking a screen to distract myself from a task I’m having a hard time completing, or staying up much later than I meant to, checking “just one more thing.”

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Text or call? What to do when.

Tech Talk Tuesday #9
When do you text? When do you call?

In Screenagers, there's a scene that shows my family talking around the dinner table about Tech Talk Tuesday. My son Chase asks "when is a good time to text versus calling someone?" So, for this week talk to your family about that issue.

My co-producer's 12-year old daughter just today was talking to her about how some people misuse texting. She was upset that a friend was saying mean things via text, things that he would never say to her on the phone.  She adamantly said that it was not bullying, it just was a mean-spirited conversation.  She saw a distinction.

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Mindful tech: bringing balance to your digital life

Tech Talk Tuesday #8
How to stay mindful?

This week I want to talk about mindfulness and bringing it to our technology use. In Screenagers, there's a scene where I consult with a mindfulness coach, David Levy, who specializes in mindful tech. I reached out to him after my daughter Tessa said to me, "I'm really distracted by my computer at night." 

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When Pong was king...

Tech Talk Tuesday #7
How do you feel about violent video games?

When I was a kid I used to play Pong and Pac-Man. The world is very different now. For today's Tech Talk Tuesday share with your kids what you played. Ask them about their favorite games and what they like about those games. Then, ask them whether they know about any games that are focused on helping people.  If so, what are they?  If your child were to design a game, what would it look like? We'd love to hear their ideas.

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Did you know you can learn self control?

Tech Talk Tuesday #6
What is something that each person your family feels out of control with?

I used to think the ability to have self-control was determined at birth. While making Screenagers I learned that there are a variety of strategies parents can use to improve self-control. There are studies in which parents are trained to help their kids gain self-control, and researchers are able to measure actual improvement. A key way to teach kids self-control around tech time is to set up clear guidelines: State times the child should not be on their device and then give incentives for adhering to them. Their newly learned ability to self-regulate then flows over to other areas where will-power is needed. 

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