The season of spring break is upon us. With it comes the issue of what to do with your unstructured days. Let’s face it, so often down time has become screen time.Read More
I am the first to say that I love multitasking. We know the brain can handle certain kinds of tasks at the same time like walking and chewing gum because those actions don’t rely too much on the frontal cortex. However, our brains can't adequately process the performance of two tasks at the same time when those tasks require some thinking.Read More
People often ask me about the medical risks that all this screen time is having on our kids—such as the development of eyesight problems or tendonitis. I get emails from ophthalmologists who are convinced that nearsightedness is increasing, but so far there are no long-term studies to say anything definitively.Read More
How many times have you or your kids pulled out a phone at dinner to quickly get the answer to a question that comes up? Knowledge-on-demand is the norm now but I am concerned it takes away from interesting, deeper conversations and interrupts dialogue.Read More
The American Psychologic Association (APA) just released a report that found that almost 90% of adults in the U.S. say that they either often check or constantly check their emails, texts, and social media accounts. This group reported higher anxiety levels than those who do not check constantly.Read More
We recently conducted a small survey of people from our Screenagers email list. From the responses I have come up with 4 rules that I think households should strongly consider implementing.Read More
Have you ever heard the term “ghosting”? It happens to teens and adults alike and according to a Huffington Post poll, about 10 percent of Americans have "ghosted" someone to break up with them. Using avoidance as a coping skill is not new, but online communication has made that an easier way to deal with uncomfortable situations.Read More
"Why not just say 'no'?" I've had this question from other parents and thought about this issue while I was making the film.Read More
With 2017 on the horizon, the last few days of 2016 are resolution season. Are you considering making some positive life changes? Great, me too. But how can we make the changes stick…for real this time?Read More
How comfortable are your kids talking to extended family and adult friends? One concern I often hear from parents is that they think screen time decreases face-to-face communication skills. I have not found any exceptional data around this issue. Families and friends will be together for the holidays and in these settings many kids and adults will gravitate towards their personal devices. When situations are uncomfortable or activity is slowed down this is accepted behavior these days. It upsets me when I see kids disappear into their screens when those special multigenerational opportunities for conversation are right in front of them.Read More
When my daughter Tessa, who is in Screenagers, saw the completed film, I was shocked by one of her first reactions. She said, ”I didn't realize so many other kids are dealing with all this rule stuff like we are." Of course, she had been with me over the years as I was making the film, and yet somehow, she did not know how common it is for families to struggle with setting limits. She went on to tell me how rarely any of her friends talked about their rules around screen time.Read More
With Thanksgiving this week, it is a good time to think about the various practices of “unplugging."
To help find times to unplug, a good starting point is to think more about when our kids are not on screens during each day, rather than when they are on screens. From there it's easier to set guidelines around unplugging. I’ve heard about many creative approaches to unplugging:
I sometimes get questions from kids and parents about whether reading on a Kindle or another device counts as screen time. I am not concerned about reading on a device, what worries me is when you read on a device that has wifi and apps, it makes it hard to concentrate and stay on task.Read More
Candidates have used screens for good and for evil this election. They've used it to bully as well as to inspire. Talking to your kids about this issue is a great way to open up the conversation about how they define bullying. Talk your teens today about how they, and you, used social media, polling data and other ways to get engaged and informed about the election this year.
Tech Talk Tuesday #36
Does your kid use multiple screens at the same time?
We, as a culture, are not only engaged in screens most of the day, but we are also often using multiple screens at the same time.Read More
Tech Talk Tuesday #35
Does your teen have any "Snapstreaks" currently?
Do you know what Streaks are? Snapchat has something they call Snapstreaks that count the consecutive days you send a Snap to the same person. My daughter has some Snapstreaks that are more than 200 days long. To keep a "streak" going both people must send a Snap back-and-forth within 24 hours.Read More
Tech Talk Tuesday #32
What is a phone's role at school?
My daughter is in 9th grade in a junior high, and my son in the high school, and it seems every year they, and I, are not entirely clear on the rules at school around cellphones. Tessa tells me that one teacher has a zero tolerance policy. On the first day he told them that if he catches them with a phone, he will put it on his desk—In this first week, he has not confiscated one during her class. Another “more chill” (in Tessa’s words) teacher says if you finish your work you can be on your phone. He added that there are “appropriate times to be on your phone and non-appropriate times.” I’m eager to have a Tech Talk Tuesday tonight with my kids about how this is all working...the different rules, their desire to check their phones versus their need to pay attention, etc.Read More