August 20, 2019

How to Curb Your Kids' Tech Addiction

“When my daughter was a preschooler in 2011, her request for technology was a simple choice between a talking cartoon dog or a Teletubbies video. But modern parenting has taken a wild turn. Games now come with complicated storylines and mysterious characters, and social media apps come with unknown risks and long-term consequences. Parents unknowingly became sole gatekeepers to this technology fortress—but that doesn’t stop our kids from finding ways across the moat.

As a mom raising a Gen Z’er, part of my job is to set boundaries and teach her how to balance the addicting and constantly evolving virtual world with the real one. With an iPhone in hand and access to so many gaming and social networking apps, her desire to be online all the time is a challenge.

Our reality isn’t unique. A May report from the Pew Research Center found that 95% of US teens have a smartphone, and 45% of teens are online on a near-constant basis. (This data is supported by a personal analysis of our car rides, during which she once didn’t notice that I sang the same Fleetwood Mac song 14 times in a row.)

My daughter’s relationship with technology isn’t much different than my own. I spend hours reading an endless stream of Facebook posts while I lie in bed. I watch videos recommended for me, starting with a Jimmy Fallon Late Night clip at 10pm and ending on a heart-wrenching dog reunion video by midnight. After four years working for a tech startup and checking Slack on my phone all hours of the day, I decided to experiment with removing the app. But before I even opened my eyes for the next few days, I found myself mentally searching for the app to check for any messages. People of all ages, myself included, face challenges with creating boundaries for how much time they spend on their phones and the apps on them.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"On Christmas Eve of 1966, Paddy Roy Bates, a retired British army major, drove a small boat with an outboard motor seven miles off the coast of England into the North Sea. He had sneaked out of his house in the middle of the night, inspired..."

"The book that changed lecturer, activist, and current presidential candidate Marianne Williamson’s life, A Course in Miracles, is not available for free online, but its workbook is. You can find it on the website for the Foundation for..."

"Here are two sets of statements from far-distant opposites in the climate change debate. The first is from Naomi Klein, who in her book This Changes Everything paints a bleak picture of a global socioeconomic system gone wrong: “There is a..."

"Voters who trust their government — and each other — are more supportive of ambitious welfare states than those who do not. Across nations, high levels of social trust correlate with high levels of social spending. The relationship between these..."

"With the presidential campaign under way, expect to hear a lot more about a shiny new toy of progressive economic thinking, “modern monetary theory.” It seems to be the only intellectual contortion that might allow candidates to promise..."

"“We don’t want to fight y’all. We’re not trying to go to jail.” That’s what A$AP Rocky, the 30-year-old New York City rapper, can be heard saying in a video of an encounter with strangers in Sweden that has ballooned into an international crisis."

"Israel’s top officials are considering denying Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib entry to their country due to their outspoken, controversial criticism of Israel’s policy toward Palestinians, not to mention their slurs against American Jews as..."

"For most of our lives, we have been conditioned to share a piece of personal information without a moment’s hesitation: our phone number. We punch in our digits at the grocery store to get a member discount or at the pharmacy to pick up..."