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Social Media

Let’s Design Tech for Adolescent Development Not Dollars

“When do you think kids should have access to social media?” a parent recently asked during a workshop. Before she could help herself, another parent nearby responded quietly, “When they are twenty-five.” Another parent chimed in more confidently, “Never.” This sparked knowing laughter from the entire crowd. It turns out that both of these parents’…  Read More

White teenager laying on bed looking at their cell phone. Their face is illuminated by the glow of the phone.

New Report Reminds Us (Again) To Talk to Young People About Porn

“When did you start talking to your kids about online porn?” a friend recently asked me, wincing a bit at the prospect of embarking on the conversations herself someday.  My face likely mirrored a similar set of tortured emotions as I responded, “Much earlier than I would have liked to. But when you look at…  Read More

Group of young teenagers sitting outside in a circle showing each other images on their phones

Teens and Screens: Why The Shift From Control to Connection is Key to Mental Health

We all have well rehearsed parenting phrases that emerge at different stages in our kids’ lives. Usually they pop into our heads or out of our mouths before we’ve even had time to think them through. You aren’t alone if the dominant phrase during middle and high school is, “PUT. THAT. [INSERT TECH DEVICE]. DOWN.”…  Read More

Line of teens sitting down looking at their phones

How Involved Should We Be In Kids’ Tech Lives? A New Study Sheds Some Light

“Just tell me how much screen time my kids should have!”  This is often the sentiment of parents I meet who are tired of conflicting advice about kids and technology. I get it. Our risk-assessment capacity is fried, news headlines give us constant whiplash, and we all could use some certainty right now.  That’s why…  Read More

Teen boy laying on bed looking at internet on phone

Why Kids Need Us To Talk To Them About Extremism Online

“My son is on Discord,” a parent recently wrote in an email immediately following the racist killing spree in Buffalo, NY. “Should I be concerned?” I took a deep breath because I knew these conversations were complicated. In the wake of the racist killings in Buffalo, NY last week, each of us has been left…  Read More

Parent looking at iPad with child

5 Ways to Build Emotional Skills for Social Media

(Long Before Kids Have Their Own Accounts)

“Thank goodness I have a five-year-old, I don’t have to deal with TikTok yet!” a parent recently shared. “Agreed!” chimed in another.  A third parent, however, observed, “Yeah… but who knows what social media platforms will be the rage when our kids get to high school…the metaverse?” The group quieted, clearly sobered by the prospect. …  Read More

Teens looking at camera with their heads together in a circle

Building Belonging Starts at Home

Unlike this time last year, many of us are moving into this winter with our core routines modified but intact. Most kids are back in school, work expectations are back on full tilt, and we are more likely to be participating in activities and community events.  In other words, we are back, in the words…  Read More

Teenager looking down at their cell phone

Still Complicated: Instagram, Teens, and Body Image

A parent recently shared, “I literally cannot imagine living without our phones right now with everything going on.” In the next breath she admitted, “but I’d also like to throw all of our phones out the window.”  As the pandemic wears on we clearly continue to live in a state of psychological flux with our…  Read More

Three pre-teens sitting outside looking at camera. One teen is wearing a green shirt and the other a white hoodie.

Listen to Youth Voices in Uncertain Times

Why Participation is Essential and Protective

“My middle schooler has a few tiny things on his mind lately… you know, like the Delta variant and the climate crisis,” a parent recently shared. She went on, “Honestly, things are pretty existential in our house right now…and I just feel so powerless to help. How can I even reassure him when his worries…  Read More

Teenager with headphones on looking at cell phone

What Will We Focus On Now? Screens, Teens, and Attention

“My kid has been tethered to their device for over a year….I cannot wait for summer to just unplug and reboot,” a parent recently shared. “I am with you!” I responded. “Seems like we could all use some time recovering from Zoom/GoogleMeet/Teams fatigue.” It’s not that pre-COVID teens (or adults) had a lot of digital balance.…  Read More