Kids and Screen Time

Common Sense Media recently published a study on the use of screens by tweens and teens. I recommend their site both for excellent content and for their guides to and reviews of tv shows, movies, apps, and books. If you've ever wondered what the heck TikTok is, look no further.


Find the Common Sense Media here, where you can read the full report or check out their key findings.


This article is a good round-up about their findings around screen use.


Things I found interesting:


• more than half of all kids have a smart phone by age 11.

• 8- to 12-year-olds average five hours of screen time a day.

• teens average 7.5 hours of screen time daily.


What does that mean? Screens are everywhere, we use them a lot, and they're becoming more ingrained in our daily lives. But they don't have to take over. You get to decide what rules you will impose around smart phones, laptops, and tablets in your home.


The article suggests that you enforce balance based on what makes sense for your family. Further, and I think this is one of the most important, model the kind of screen use you'd like your child to have. If you want them to put their phone away or on silent during dinner, do the same. If you want to have a screen-free hour every evening, make sure you're not checking your email or texts during that time.


And especially for students with ADHD or executive function challenges: try to encourage that phones are off/not in the room during homework time. I know this is a huge struggle for most families, and I suggest you take it one day at a time. Ask your child to try it just for an hour or 30 minutes at first. And have empathy. I think most of us with smart phones have trouble leaving them off or in another room for any period of time.


One of my teenage students, who was initially reluctant to part with his phone for any reason, recently tried putting his phone in another room while he wrote a paper. This was after his parents, counselor, and I suggested it. He noticed that he was a lot more productive, and he hopes to implement this strategy each time he has a paper to write. Baby steps, right?