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Cell phones

Teenage boy looking at phone and llistening to music with earbuds in his ears.

What Teens Need Us to Know About Social Media and Mental Health

“Any gratitude I had for screens is gone,” a friend shared this week, “I was thrilled in March…thank goodness for technology! Take the iPad and go forth! Now online meetings, gaming, and chats feel more and more empty, especially with everything going on the world. I just want my kid to unplug for a while.…  Read More

Screen time rules change during COVID-19 pandemic as child does distance learning alongside parent working

Do Screen Time Rules Matter in a Pandemic? Try This Approach

I knew we had reached peak screen saturation in my home as I watched my youngest son log onto a Zoom call and then, realizing he wanted his brother included, walked over and sat next to him on the couch. My eldest was on Facetime and they quickly realized they were live streaming a live…  Read More

Teenager checking their cell phone

Informed or overwhelmed? The brain on COVID-19 news

This week marked the first official week of learning at home in the wake of school closures designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Our family started social distancing efforts last week so I had a little time to mentally prepare for the new reality of juggling working, parenting, and teaching. I knew better than…  Read More

Parent and child enjoying reducing screen time

Why Reducing Screen Time Isn’t Your Best Resolution

But Changing Digital Habits Might Be

The other day I found myself thinking, “What a time to be alive!” as I watched my oldest child make a series of online slideshows for some of his teachers. He couldn’t have been happier to be writing, creating hilarious art, and even adding poetry to his creations. Outside of school time! Just for fun!…  Read More

Young child scrolling through cell phone app that uses persuasive design to shape the user's behavior

Persuasive Design and Growing Brains: Why It Can Be So Hard to Unplug

“I am going to be screen free tonight!” I say to myself with conviction. I am already looking forward to a calm and focused evening. “Anything I need to see on my phone can wait until tomorrow,” I think with confidence. I place my phone on the counter and open the back door to greet…  Read More

A teen and technology listening to headphones while on her phone

6 Common Worries About Technology and Teens

What's the Reality?

Technology and teens. If you are anything like me, on any given day you vacillate wildly between, “Technology is amazing! What a time to be alive!” and, “Throw. It. Out. The. Window.” Such is parenting life in the digital age. News headlines exacerbate our ambivalence. Media reports convince us that social media is the key…  Read More

Teenager laying on bed looking at cell phone with parental controls on it.

10 Tips for Building Trust With Parental Controls

It doesn’t work well to install parental controls, close our eyes, cross our fingers, and hope for digital greatness. How we use parental controls has a huge impact on whether or not they are effective in helping our kids build digital skills and whether or not they build or erode trust.

Looking up from your phone

Three Apps That Will Help You Put Your Phone Down

When it comes to digital devices, “proximity is destiny.” Of course in an ideal world we would all have the internal impulse control to make good choices about when to scroll and when to look up towards a family member or friend. Yet we know these internal skills are still developing in children’s growing brains…  Read More

Teenager looking at glowing screen of ipad

Teens, Social Media and Mental Health

Depressing, Uplifting or Complicated?

“I know there is a lot to be excited about, but I can’t help but feel depressed about all the time that kids are spending online,” a father of a middle schooler said at a workshop recently. Another parent added, “Well, you aren’t alone. I am not sure that social media isn’t making my daughter…  Read More