Tech, screen time & balance

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Contributor

Tech, screen time & balance

Hey all, something that's come up a lot through our research was this idea of 'screen time' and the impact of technology. How do your kids use technology and what do you think about it? A lot of people worry about the negative impact of screens & technology.

 

On the other hand, the evidence is in. Technology can play a role in improving relationships, belonging & community. Then there is all the ways technology aids self-help!

 

Is it possible to create balance?

Contributor

Re: Technology, 'screen time' & balance

This is tough, especially for parents who work in tech industries and just think "what's wrong with screentime?.

 

I could probably be reported to FACS for the amount of screentime I allow my son. But I do talk to him about the importance of balancing the virtual and real world. He gets outdoor physical exercise every day which I rarely have to remind him about. 

 

By way of explanation his father lives in the US so there is a lot of Skype; he studies music so we have the digital audio setup on a Mac, he has to use a Chromebook at school (Year 11) and OK I admit he has a PC, Xbox and PS3.

 

The thing is it's critical for his generation to be computer-literate. I love it that he has study group friends on Facebook Messenger etc etc, But yes: we need to be responsible parents and make sure our teens don't turn into pasty-faced cave dwellers.

Contributor

Re: Technology, 'screen time' & balance

Hey @Mitzi - absolutely, technology definitely can helpful and for many screentime isn't an issue.

Sounds like your son does get the balance of physical activity away from the screen. And like you mentioned, technology can enhance our relationships with our family (skyping with Dad); improved education (study groups on Messenger), This is a great example!

Anyone else got thoughts on this?
Founding member

Re: Technology, 'screen time' & balance

It is hard to find the balance with today's teens!  I'm sure my girls spend way too much time on their laptops etc but it's their socia outlet as they are both hearing impaired and technology gives them access to so much! 

Contributor

Re: Technology, 'screen time' & balance

yes, my daugher spends lots of screen time, she watches youtube even when she is excercising. But I don't see it a problem as she has always been a responsible child and knows her priorities.

 

I love technology myself and i have to admit that my daughter is smarter and can help me a lot in my laptop, ipad and many other things. I guess this is why she does not have to spend more screen time just to be against mum.


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Frequent scribe

Re: Technology, 'screen time' & balance

'Balance' is the key.  But one person's balance is different to another's.

 

Our girls do spend a lot of time on their laptops / iphones.  But it is how this generation communicate, so be too controlling can harm their social relationships, which of course are everything.

 

They know that if we ate eating dinner together, everyone places their phones on silent and puts them in a pile on the table.  And that palying with a phone while being spoken to is not acceptable.

 

Other than that, we're pretty open about screen time.



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Founding member

Re: Technology, 'screen time' & balance

I have tried many tactics/strategies depending on my own free time, mother guilt and energy over the years.....my experience or advice is be guided by your teen. Even when I have given my teens free reign on screen time they will mostly remove themselves from devices and even say, we need to get moving and get some air and escape the Internet. I think by establishing a good active lifestyle routine they crave movement and we talk about how they feel after spending hours on social media or Xbox, they feel totally drained and recognise that it's good for some down time but not the only source of interaction/entertainment. They do even get frustrated when going to a friend's and they spend all their time glued to their phone, I take that on board and put down my mobile and listen!!!

We talk a lot about how technology makes us feel, fear of missing out, rejection, also how to improve how we interact and read the cues for when technology isn't working.

So many issues to ponder here but what didn't work was putting limits or cutting off internet time (unless there was a serious problem) it only caused resentment, conflict and "binge" screen time......

I also like how I learn about my teens by observing them on social media, their "likes" their friends, we are connected in a way that is the norm now, a forum full of information.

Super frequent scribe

Re: Technology, 'screen time' & balance

I will confess to having an extremely laissez faire approach to technology and screen time. I have two boys 15 & 16 who both spend a lot of time using technology (mostly their phones).  I have learned the hard way that if I try to limit or prohibit their access to their tech I end up isolating them and making them unhappy.  

 

I would even go as far to say that technology can be healthy and therapeutic for teens.  My 15 year old was suffering from depression and anxiety, and one of the things that helped him most was his PS4 gaming.  He would play online with his friends and suddenly this sullen, withdrawn teen was laughing and engaging with his peers in a positive way!  This led to him reconnecting with his mates from primary school (who then went to different high schools), and then to socialising (offline!) with numerous sleep overs, camping trips, going to the movies, etc.  All the stuff we see as "normal" behaviour.

 

We are social creatures and teens are no exception, the tech is merely a tool!

Contributor

Re: Technology, 'screen time' & balance

That last sentence pretty much sums it up @tenacious_dad

Contributor

Re: Technology, 'screen time' & balance

@tenacious_dad @Polly @StHubbins @readthemanual @Ushermum - such great insight here! Thanks all for your thoughts.