The Screen Time Question: Is there a right answer?

The Screen Time Question: Is there a right answer?

Anyone out there concerned about how technology is affecting us? Personally? As a family? For our children? We are asking all sorts of questions–when should Penny get a phone (she, age 11, says yesterday. I say when she’s 14. Peter says “how about never?”)? Should we let William save his money to buy his own “electronic”? How much screen time on a daily/weekly basis? Is there a difference between watching a show and a movie? Between different types of video games? Does socialization in the 21st century depend upon screens? What is the proper use of social media for kids? How do we control technology instead of allowing it to control us?

I led a conversation at our kids’ school today where we tried to parse out what we affirm and what we are concerned about when it comes to screens. Then we talked about “best practices.” You can see our white board discussion in the photo. Meanwhile, here’s some additional reading if you want to join the questions around this brave new world:

Saving the Self in the Age of the Selfie: An article from The American Scholar about the need for healthy stress in our lives and how smart phones make us too comfortable for our own good.

Our Minds Can be Hijacked: The tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia: An article from the Guardian about people who have worked in the tech industry and decided to walk away.

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? The Atlantic‘s viral article about social media use and isolation and depression among adolescents.

Three Fears about Screen Time for Kids and Why They’re Not True: This TED talk by Sara DeWitt, who works for PBS Kids, challenges the idea that screen time is detrimental to kids.

Do Our Devices Control More than We Think? TED speaker Tristan Harris talks about why he doesn’t work for Google any longer because of the ethical issues he confronted while there.

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