This is an update to a blog I wrote after our Thanksgiving feast 2017. As you'll read below, the evening didn't turn out the way I'd hoped, to say the least. I've included the original post below and added a section upfront about how I'll do it differently this year.
Whether you're hosting a meal for Thanksgiving or attending as a guest, you'll agree "that person", who insists on digital media restrictions is rarely voted most popular at the party. Yet, despite the deep sighs, eye rolls and threats of noncompliance, I continue my fight against addictive media influence, especially when it comes to family.
Before you give up the fight against society norms, remember this: your attention is the most precious commodity you have -- more valuable than money -- and the personal, authentic connections you enjoy with people in your life are what you'll be remembered for in the end.
If you'd like more help...
Happy Mother's Day to all women out there raising children with a feminine touch, an iron fist, and a persistent headache from fighting about screens.
Soon, it will be summer "break", that magical time of year when teachers get to return the little darlings they've enjoyed for months back to their parents. Kids get to sleep late, hang out with friends and play outside. Although family traditions vary, we can all count on long days, relaxing nights and family bonding. That's the plan anyway.
Unless, of course, your family owns a few digital devices. Today, most homes offer a cornucopia of options for plugging into the Matrix including laptops, connected TVs, iPads, smartphones, gaming consoles, smart speakers, and more. With daily school structure, team sports and homework out of the way, summertime with screen-obsessed kids can turn into a special kind of horror show.
You’ve probably heard about the risks of screen overuse, the lure of addictive digital media and the concern that we may be putting our physical and mental health at risk. Maybe you’ve even read Cal Newport’s newest book, Digital Minimalism and thought about trying the 30-Day digital detox suggested. But then, there’s life, work, kids, and...behavior change is hard.
That’s why we’re going all in on Screen-Free Week (SFW), April 29-May 5, 2019! Why? Because unlike month-long sabbaticals, SFW is uniquely doable for ALL families. The program’s brilliance is its provocative name, yet flexible, practical guidelines. In an effort to help families turn Screen-Free Week into a Screen-Free Summer, we're offering $100 off our online course until the end of May. Enter code SFW.
A National Celebration!
SFW suggests we - families, schools and communities - replace passive,...
Recently I attended a presentation by Dr. Christine Carter called, “Skills Teens Need for Happiness, Productivity, and Performance - and How Parents Can Help”. Christine Carter, Ph.D., is the author of multiple books, The Sweet Spot: How to Achieve More by Doing Less (2017) and Raising Happiness (2011).
I jumped at the offer to hear Dr. Carter speak, given that the topic is closely aligned my “kids and screens” work at ScreenAge Bootcamp and I’ve always agreed with her parental philosophies, rooted in social science. Dr. Carter has a way of conveying her data, through her personal experience that makes it seem as if you’re listening to a well-educated, but a relatable friend. Here are my thoughts about her presentation.
Dr. Carter started the presentation with background information revealing the latest findings from her own work and other well-known academics, such as Dr. Jean Twenge, author of iGen, that shocked many parents when her book came...
In August, my father, with whom I was very close, died from complications of Parkinson’s disease. Towards the end of his life, he’d lost the ability to eat, read and socialize -- the things he loved most in life. To see him in this condition was heartbreaking, yet, the weeks leading up to his death were oddly inspiring. The disease had taken his body, but I knew his legacy would carry on.
During the days I sat by his bedside, my three sisters would visit and we shared poignant, funny and sad moments from our childhood. Did we ever acknowledge his parenting skills or thank him for investing time in our future? No way! At least not then. As I watched the disease take his mind and body, I reflected on how much my life choices were shaped by the time he spent teaching us how to live.
My dad taught us about values. He didn’t care about keeping up with the Joneses, societal norms, or embarrassing us in the grocery store. He toted vitamins in his “Man...
Last Tuesday night I attended a talk by Jean Twenge, author of the highly acclaimed book iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood.
I’ve read the book and been following her work closely since it was brought to my attention in The Atlantic article published in April of 2017, Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?, she presented updated data and nuances gained between the publishing of her book in early 2017 and fall 2018 — an eternity as it relates to the subject.
I found it interesting that Dr. Twenge doesn't study teens and screens per se, but instead she studies Psychology across generations. Screens only registered on her Richter scale because of the negative impact they’ve had on adolescent mental health—so dramatic, it’s shaping an entire generation. I suspect the continued study of digital media’s impact on adolescence will provide Dr....
"The evidence is clear, but we're not ready to face it. Society has gone all-in on tech and we don't want to accept that the devices on which we've become dependent have gotten out of control. Even more difficult, is taking responsibility for giving devices to our kids with developing brains."
-- Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, author of Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids and How to Break the Trance.
My son runs cross country and track. If you've ever been to a track meet, you know it's a full day event, during which you get to watch your child compete for about 5 minutes. With all that time waiting patiently on the wooden bleachers, I’ve had a chance to ask other parents how they manage screens in their home.
99% of the time, the conversation starts like this…
Q: “Do you let your teenager sleep with his/her phone?”
A: “Yes, because it’s his/her alarm...