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Social Media

Beyond Likes and Shares: How to Build Real Self-Esteem

I can still remember the poster hanging in my fourth-grade classroom. Against the backdrop of a star-studded night sky, a comet blazed across the image accompanied by text that read, “You can be a star!”  As a child of the eighties, I grew up during the self-esteem movement. Posters, programs, and books consistently communicated, “‘If…  Read More

Teens on social media on their phones

New Health Advisory on Social Media Use in Adolescence

What are the latest recommendations from the American Psychological Association?

To say that there is a lot of attention right now on teenage social media use is an understatement. Yet all of the attention hasn’t necessarily produced a clear and coherent path for parents. Instead, we continue to experience significant whiplash between headlines that say, “Screen time is fine!” on one hand, and, “Screen time…  Read More

A white and Black tween girl laying on their stomachs on a bed looking into a cell phone taking a selfie

Body Image and Social Media

“It’s so clear that so much of it is fake. I mean I know that. But it’s like, when I am scrolling, I still don’t know that,” a teenager recently told me after a workshop at her school this past fall. She was eager to follow up on our conversation about the curated nature of…  Read More

Parent and teen looking at phone together

Does Your Kid Want a Phone? Consider These 5 Questions First

“My seventh grader is begging for a phone. I keep going back and forth about whether I think she’s old enough,” a parent recently shared. “Honestly,” he went on, “I’m not sure I’m ready.” “I love that you are thinking about that second part,” I responded.  “What do you mean?” he asked.  “Well, we tend…  Read More

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