Screen Time at
a High Level
If there’s one reverberant theme to parenting in the 21st century, it’s our collective concern about screen time and the effect it’s having on our kids. In fact, the top parenting concern today is the overuse of technology. Inevitably, the subject comes up while we’re talking with friends over dinner, at a school function, or even on a hike. We know the many benefits of technology and that our childrens’ futures will require digital proficiency, but we want to be well-prepared to guide our kids into the digital world.
‘Parenting Technology’ is enormously challenging, and often we aren’t sure quite where to begin. This Screen Time roadmap breaks down the labyrinthine maze of parental checkpoints and brings Our Collection to life. With our Gold Star Articles, we’ve delved into the full spectrum of issues, from ‘Is Screen Time Addictive’ to ‘What’s the Right Amount of Time’? Best Practices and Our Tools help you to zero in on effective strategies for managing screen time for your family, and Our Guides shows you how to implement them.
Recognizing that every family has differing values and individual needs, our goal is to provide you with a personalized roadmap for navigating screen time. We can also present you with customized solutions for your specific needs, free of judgment and free of hassle through our iConcierge Services. Ultimately, we are all in this digital experiment together and want Our Friends to know that they always have back up.
We’re here to help at any point, and if you’re part of Our Inner Circle, you can always just text us!
With best wishes,
Julie Paul, Founder
The Key Takeaways
Screen Time is materially altering personal relationships.
Between Friends: teens now prefer texting to spending time together in-person.*
- 55% of teens don’t put their phones away when hanging out with friends, and 44% of teens are annoyed about this.
Between Parents and Kids: screens are creating a new level of tension that was non-existent 10 years ago
- One-third of families report screen-related conflicts daily
- Parents are finding the magnetic pull of these devices difficult to manage
The easy access to personal devices is reshaping how we enjoy media, making it a more individualized and less social experience. Plenty of parents have reported that in the face of protests, they’re routinely enforcing ‘Family Movie’ night and requiring siblings to negotiate over what to watch together. And snubbing someone to look at your cell phone (aka ‘phubbing’) continues to strain relationships.
* This is a major shift in just the last 5 years.
There’s a major community effect.
While families have differing perspectives about technology use, the impact is not contained to their own children, but affects the broader community when:
- Parents give their kids devices without setting parental controls and explicit content gets shared between schoolmates
- Some parents allow devices during social situations and others do not, making the dynamics awkward
Schools compound the problem when they:
- Introduce technology into the classroom and home without adequately informing and preparing parents
- Permit children to use phones during school hours reinforcing:
- the new norm to socialize online rather than in-person during breaks
- the distractions and the inclination to feel tethered to their phones
Programs like ‘Away for the Day‘ have united parents and schools in establishing firm technology boundaries.
Parents are unclear how to strike the right balance.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) no longer recommends specific time limits for screen time for children over six and instead advises parents to:
- Make sure there’s enough time for sleep, physical activity, unstructured play, and face-to-face interaction
- Keep devices out of bedrooms, especially at night
- Turn off screens 60 minutes prior to bedtime to avoid sleep cycle delays
Parents are challenged to balance the educational and entertainment aspects of screen time. They are often unfamiliar with what tools are available to help them and where to begin.
Screen time actually increases well-being up to a point
- Kids who get moderate amounts of screen time are happier than peers who get too much or too little
- The happiest teens are those with:
- below average social media use
- above average face-to-face communication
- The least happy teens spend more than 20 hours per week on screens
Teens feel pressure to be ‘On’ all the time, and they themselves worry about their screen time use.
- Nine out of ten teens think that spending too much time online is a problem facing their generation
- 50% say they feel addicted to their phones, and more than half of teens have intentionally tried to cut back
- 72% of teens feeling the need to respond immediately to text and social media message
It’s no wonder that teens have elevated levels of anxiety and are driven to distraction. For parents of younger children, these statistics serve as major motivation to actively engage in digital parenting and help our kids to get on a better path.
Apple has finally revamped its parental controls.
Screen Time gives parents more control over their children’s device use with the ability to:
- Schedule Downtime to shut the phone off
- Set time limits both for specific apps and app categories
While a huge improvement, there’s still a learning curve to set it up, and some major flaws render Screen Time useless for savvy kids. We hope that Apple will continue to rise to the occasion when investors and parents them accountable.
While our kids may be the digital natives, we need to flip the message that they’re the experts and take the lead.
- Our goal is to send our kids out into the world with the ability to self-regulate and control their technology use rather than be controlled by it
- Our role is to guide our children through the major inflection points, from their first iPad to when they start posting on social media
‘Parenting Technology’ is a lot easier when we know what we’re handing our children and are prepared to help them manage it.
- Overuse of Technology is the top parenting concern – American Family Survey
- 50% feel addicted to their phones – Common Sense Media
- 9 out of 10 and more than half of teens have tried to cut back – Jinjin Jiang, Pew Research Center
- 72% feel the need to respond immediately and 78% check device hourly – Common Sense Media
- 42% of Teens feel anxious– Monica Anderson, Pew Research Center
- Prefer texting, 55% don’t put their phones away and 44% are frustrated – Common Sense Media
- AAP Recommendations – American Academy of Pediatrics
- Monitoring is more important than privacy – Common Sense Media