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
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
My own two teens both have rich emotional lives—full of ups and downs (like most of us on this planet). From this I realized I wanted to talk more with them about how they and their friends communicate on social media and via text about their mental health. What do they find helpful and what is not helpful?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
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
NBC's Today Show ran a piece this week where 10th grade students at a school in Tumwater, Washington watched Screenagers and then had the chance to do a one-week digital detox and be filmed for TV. Only some kids agreed to do it and the results were unexpected. Watch this with your kids! My kids thought it was really well done.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:
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 #37
What's a Finsta?
Finstagrams are “private” Instagrams meant only for your closest friends. Many kids just refer to them as their private Instagram account. Here’s the definition from the Urban Dictionary: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 #34
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is a big concern for parents, but how do we define it and do our children see it differently? The definition of bullying from StopBullying.gov is:Read More
Tech Talk Tuesday #33
Do you talk to your kids about sexting?
A recent article in the Washington Post about sexting and a podcast called Note to Self got me thinking about the subject. “Sexting” is the exchange of sexually explicit images between minors (17 years or younger) via tech, usually cells phones. A study from 2012 found that roughly 20% of U.S. adolescents between 13 and 19 reported having sent, or posted, a nude or semi-nude photo of themselves, and 28% said they received a sext message intended for someone else.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
Tech Talk Tuesday #30
How do you contact your friends and family through technology?
When I was young I saw the Truffaut film, Small Change, that made me want to be French. I started working at various jobs at 12 and by 16, I was able to pay my way to France for a summer to travel alone. Ok, why am I telling you this? Well, I remember trying to stay connected with people back home in Berkeley and spending a lot of time picking out postcards to send. I remember hoping the postcards would get home before I did—geez, did postcards to take forever back then, and even now they still take so long. I thought this would be a great conversation to have for Tech Talk Tuesday this week. Here are some questions to get the conversation going:Read More
As summer break nears its final days and I see the fall frenzy of school-and-everything-else schedules coming my way, I am preparing for the transition. Amidst considerations around supplies, extracurriculars, transportation, and meals is of course…managing screen time.Read More
Tech Talk Tuesday #26
Do you post photos of yourself on vacation?
A recent survey found that 76 percent of travelers post their vacation photos to social networks. People have different feelings about this--for example, some people love to see people on vacation and others may feel envious.Read More