Stopping Endless Scrolling

A few days ago I was really surprised that my girlfriend was unaware that Facebook controls which posts appear at the top of one’s feed. I explained to her that it strategically feeds us more of what we have engaged with—so to engage us more. This is in contrast to the “old days,” when one would see posts in the order that “friends” were posting them. Most social media and content companies continually update their algorithms to figure out how to keep us hooked and endlessly scrolling through posts.

Many analysts say that the majority of YouTube videos watched are discovered by the suggestions that YouTube gives each time one logs into it, or suggested after watching a video. The power of its algorithms hit home the other day when I was looking up something related to teen girls and sports. YouTube employed its “read my mind trick” and up popped all sorts of “recommended videos.” This was the first time I started scrolling down all their suggestion, and when I did, I was shocked at the sheer length of the scroll. I could keep scrolling practically forever. And, in fact, the algorithm was working because more than half of the videos piqued my curiosity. Not surprising since it was curated and informed by my past searches. Examples of things that were showing up: The Story of Nadia Comaneci (along with 5 other great looking gymnastic videos) Wayne Thiebaud the Painter videos, Priscilla Chan’s Three Billion Dollar Give Away and other important causes videos, exercise videos, and mounds of movie star stuff, which I don’t usually search but clearly YouTube knows that I might actually open the “How Emily Blunt met John Krasinski” video. Frankly, had I let myself, I could have spent several hours lost in frivolous curiosity.

I find it interesting that YouTube appears to give me so few recommendations for things I have looked up that are more work-related, more concentration dependent, like technical information on filmmaking.  I wonder if this too is an algorithm…one that accounts for the fact that humans favor entertainment and relaxation over thought-challenging work-related links.

My husband has become a bit obsessed with the new book LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media. The book, painstakingly researched by two academic defense experts over 5 years, describes how social media is being used by individuals, groups, and governments to influence opinions. The authors make the interesting point that much of the power of targeted messaging comes from within our own minds. They give these two powerful examples 1) Humans have an intrinsic desire to associate with like-minded individuals, and 2) Humans like to have their preconceptions confirmed. These traits underlie the psychology that results in our compulsion to keep clicking on the next suggested link.

I fear that algorithms are defining our children and forcing them deeper into silos. When they search for something that others, as well as themselves, have previously searched for, by default they are filtered into a category and served the same information that others who were looking for these same answers received. Those filters often go deeper than just keywords, they are algorithms that take into account factors like one’s profile and other searches, and ultimately knitting together a group of people with similar interests and backgrounds.

I also want to be clear that I know there are many terrific consequences of algorithmic curating. Let’s say your daughter likes building Balsa Wood models and she is searching for YouTube videos on the activity. Later other similar videos will appear on YouTube for her to see. That can be a good thing. But, with so many curiosity piquing videos how do you to stay on task? How do you ever unplug? Why would you ever get back to something less entertaining like writing that paper you were researching rather than going down the rabbit hole of distraction.

How do we remain conscious about what we are doing or watching when the videos and content suggested for us is done so with such personalized precision? The first step is to be aware of the endless scroll. Since that night when I felt the true abyss of the scroll, I have been more actively ignoring all videos displayed before me—especially the insane barrage of celebrity ones.

I am really excited to talk about all of this with my family tomorrow night–ie Tech Talk Tuesday.

For this TTT let’s discuss the powerful algorithms at play.

Here are some questions to get the conversation started:

  • As always start with a positive question about tech such as: Are there types of videos that YouTube presents you that you appreciate?
  • Do you know that content suggested for you, like videos on YouTube, are designed around your searching history and interests?
  • Have you been sucked into an endless scroll?
  • What do you think you could do to stop the endless scroll?
  • Talk about how realizing your viewing could go on forever gives you the power to decide to stop.

https://www.screenagersmovie.com/tech-talk-tuesdays/stopping-the-scroll?utm_source=Indie+Streak&utm_campaign=635be11f0c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_01_29_06_01_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3dc2dfef78-635be11f0c-160664121&mc_cid=635be11f0c&mc_eid=53ce4a77a2

2019-02-07T09:58:36-08:00February 7, 2019|

Tech Talk

Groundbreaking study discovers an association between screen time and actual brain changes

Big news has hit us this week about brain morphology and screen time, and I want to weigh in as we all try to make sense of the findings. Here is the gist of what headlines are saying:

Researchers studied 4,500 9-and 10-year olds and found that many of those who spend more than 7 hours a day on screens —such as smartphones, tablets, and video games—showed premature thinning of the cortex which is the outermost layer of the brain.

This new data comes from the ABCD study funded by The National Institutes of Medicine (NIH). I just got off the phone with neuroscientist Elizabeth Sowell PhD who leads a ABCD study site at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. I have some important information to share.

I met Elizabeth when The Los Angeles Unified School District asked me to speak at a Screenagers’ event in 2016. Elizabeth and her team had a booth outside the screening where they were trying to recruit youth to be in the ABCD study —there are 21 sites around the country. Not many people were coming up to the booth.

Having spent two years working at NIH as a researcher, I understood how hard it is to find people to participate in studies, and I knew this study was a game changer, so I was eager to help. During my Screenagers presentation, I told the audience all about the landmark study and the learning opportunities that their children could glean from participating in a major research study. I was so pleased that many of the audience went straight to the booth after the talk to sign up.

For this study, 9-and-10-year-olds were recruited between 2016 to 2018. Kids will be followed for a total of ten years. At their yearly visits, the children and their parents will complete questionnaires, and some years MRI scans will be done on the kids. A total of 11,000 youth have been enrolled, and scientists will be gathering important data about brain development in response to things like marijuana, alcohol, and… screen time.

THE FINDINGS

The study just released included only the first cohort of 4,500 kids and it gives data based on questionnaires and MRIs of their brains at one moment in time. Researchers found that kids who spent more than 7 hours a day on screens, on average, had a thinner outer layer of their cerebral cortex than kids who spent less time on screens. The cerebral cortex is the area that houses “executive functioning” —ie, higher order thinking, such as data consolidation, problem-solving and planning. It also helps us regulate our responses to emotions that come from deeper areas of the brain.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Babies are born with many more brain cells than they will end up with as adults. Why so many cells at birth? The hypothesis is that this abundance of cells gives humans incredible adaptability to whatever environments they find themselves. As babies grow older and have experiences, these experiences dictate how neurons begin to lay down patterns. Neuronal connections that are not used, start to be pruned away. Evolutionarily, it is important that the brain loses some of what it does not use because running a brain takes a lot of energy—in fact 20% of the food we eat goes just to support the brain. Pruning promotes efficiency.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

The researchers revealed thinner cortexes of these 9 and 10-year-olds. The level of thinning found is what one finds on MRIs for older children. This is why this is being called premature thinning. One could see this as a bad thing, that the brain is consolidating neurons earlier than it normally would.  On the flip side, one could say that the brain appears to be maturing faster, so isn’t that a good thing?

Early maturation can sound good but the ABCD researchers found that this thinning in the cortex was correlated with lower “crystalized” intelligence. Crystalized refers to the knowledge that youth glean from simply living life, such as vocabulary (as opposed to “fluid” intelligence which is not as much about “what is known” as opposed to “how something is known”). I do not know which crystalized intelligence they measured because it is not in the science report.

AM I CONCERNED?

Does all this have me concerned? Yes…but at this point, we have no idea if the screen time caused this thinning, or if the kids who were inclined to spend more than 7 hours on screens were more likely to have a thinner cortex to begin with. The real power of this study will come with follow-up data collection and MRI scans. The changes that will be revealed over time will help sort out cause and effect relationships.

But don’t get me wrong, this is really important information, and we need to talk with our students in schools and universities, students in afterschool programs, Boy and Girl Scouts, team sports, along with children and teens in our homes. This is the type of science that can engage young people. It is about their brains, and they do care about their brains!

In fact, last month I was in France filming their new national law to limit screen time by prohibiting cell phones in classrooms for students 15 and younger. When discussions turned to screen time at home, many tweens and teens told me how they were comfortable keeping their phones out of their bedrooms at night because they had learned that there might be problems from too much radiation exposure. Science is still looking into this, but what is telling is that that the students were concerned enough by this research to change their habits.

Today let’s use this new scientific study from ABCD to engage our youth in this important topic of screen time effects on kids’ brain development. As we sit in the middle of this tech revolution, let’s help the next generation be data-driven and scientifically minded —their input is key to creating a society committed to preventing unthwarted outcomes of excessive screen time.

Here are questions to ask your kids about the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study.

  1. Given that 9 and 10-year-olds who were on screens over 7 hours a day were found to have thinner cerebral cortexes of the brain—where higher order thinking occurs, such as problem-solving and planning—what do you make of this?
  2. Could it be that kids who have thinner cerebral cortexes are inclined to look at screens more?
  3. Once we have follow up data in about a year, how will that give us a lot more information about cause and effect?
  4. Why might it be that researches found that kids who looked at screens over 7 hours a day scored lower on knowledge tests (also called crystalized learning)?
2018-12-11T11:03:11-08:00December 11, 2018|

Tech Talk

There are so many reasons why for many youth screen time has crowded out activities and interactions that would benefit them—in other words, why they are experiencing excessive screen time.

One of the reasons is the inner discomfort that many parents (and teachers) feel from saying “no” to their children and teens. Saying no and being able to tolerate the myriad of emotions that result, such as guilt, self-doubt, and sadness is challenging for many people. On top of that, the child may add on their own negative emotions to the “no,” such as anger and disgust. Having to tolerate any one of these emotions, let alone several of them at one time, is a major undertaking.

Perhaps you have been wanting to set new limits, such as saying “no” to screen time in the car, “no” to screens in the bedroom at bedtime, “no” to screens at the dinner table. I will give some tips below but first these insights.

I have thought long and hard about how challenging it is to tolerate the discomfort of setting boundaries and saying no, not only from my viewpoint as a researcher and speaker on tech and parenting but also from my 25 years of practicing medicine. The hardest “no” that health providers are confronted with over and over is a person requesting opioids when the provider does not think the opioids are in the best interest of the patient.

What has frankly shocked me over the past couple of years with the discussions on the causes of the opioid crisis is that I never hear anyone (reporters, authors, policy makers, etc.) bring up the fact that a contributing cause to this crisis is the fact that health care providers often prescribe these medicines because they can’t tolerate the backlash from saying “no.” We hear reasons about how the drug companies told providers that the long-acting opioids were not addicting, about broken health systems, and others, but the human interactions in the providers’ offices are ignored.

In medical school, students learn next to nothing about addiction medicine. This amazed me since so many of the patients I was seeing in the hospital were there due to addictions (lung disease and tobacco, liver disease and alcohol, and so on). I decided to do an elective in addiction medicine and had the good fortune of having an incredible mentor, Dr. Barry Rosen. He would always tell me that, “The surgeon has her tool, a scalpel…my tool is my words.” Watching Barry lead complex dialogues, laden with intense emotions from his patients such as shame, denial, and hope, was true mastery in action.

I went on to do research and short films on doctor-patient communication, opioid requests, and recovery.  In the films I talk about one way to stay compassionate when setting boundaries is to remind oneself that it is the addiction talking (or crying or yelling), and not the person. That person at say 15, or pick any pre-addiction age, would never have thought to themselves “I would love to be a slave to heroin, wouldn’t that be great and how cool to know that I could die each time I use it.”

The real skill of a health provider is in their effective communication to be able to maintain a connection with the person so that along with a “no,” come discussions about why the “no,” collaborative decision making for alternatives and at times conversations about recovery treatment. Daily my heart hurts when I think of all the people and families dealing with an addiction of any type. If you are interested to hear about the many solutions happening around the opioid epidemic, my dear friend Ann Boiko just launched a wonderful podcast series on iTunes called Finding Fixes. I recommend listening to an episode with your teens.

Back to our topic of saying “no” to prevent excessive screen time. Here are some tips.

Prepping to say the “no”

  1. Spend time writing out why you want to set this screen limit so you feel confident that it is an overall positive thing for your child—such as providing undistracted time for better sleep or for them to build in-person relationships.
  2. Remind yourself that there are hundreds of studies that show parenting with love, but with boundaries, leads to the best outcomes (vs. command and control type parenting or a passive parenting style.)
  3. Baby steps are key. Just pick one thing you have wanted to say “no” to and work on that single challenge. Start with the easiest one.
  4. Know that you are modeling to your children, students, girl scouts, etc. the deeply important skill of “acting with integrity.” If you really believe, as I do, that having times undistracted by devices is good for youth (and all of us), then you are showing them that you are willing to act in line with your beliefs even though it means stepping into discomfort.

Fostering autonomy

Achieving greater autonomy as one enters adulthood is a primary human need. Whenever possible give your child some agency around the “no.” For example, you realize that you think that it is more beneficial to your 13-year old that devices, including the phone, no longer be in her room at bedtime. You do the steps above and now want to appeal to her need for some control. Ask something like, “What time are you thinking the phone should be put away? Should I come and get it or should you give to me at that time?”

Holding person accountable

One of the biggest gifts we give is holding people we care about accountable for their actions. It takes energy to do this and yet payoffs are well worth it. So know as you do the work to enforce the “no” that you are giving a gift, one of energy and dedication. In an upcoming TTT, I will talk more about accountability and consequences.

For today’s Tech Talk Tuesday here are some questions to open a conversation around “no.”

  1. As always start a conversation about the positives of tech such as what cool tech activity grabs everyone’s attention the strongest these days.
  2. If your child currently has any devices with them in the bedroom at bedtime, ask the reasons they like having your devices in their room with them.
  3. What time do they think is a reasonable time to put devices away, out of their room?
  4. Discuss other possible “no” situations related to screens that you may wish to create.
2018-11-28T12:53:22-08:00November 28, 2018|

Tech Talk

Teenage years bring a lot of firsts. For most, it means the first date, first kiss, first job and perhaps first time driving a car. It’s the time when schoolyard crushes turn into romantic relationships and, for the teens of today, social media often plays a big role.

Flirting can happen via text, Snapchat, and other platforms. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 63% of teens with dating experience have sent flirtatious messages to someone they like, and 14% of teens without dating experience have done so.

Often teens will say things online such as “hey you are cute” and other compliments. Teens tell me that they would not say these things face-to-face but online it is fun. Often a person can tell someone is interested just by whether they send a Snapchat or a direct text (a direct text carries more weight).

Clearly, tweens and teens might not have any interest in discussing flirting with their parents. But I believe that talking about the pressure that can come along with, or masquerade as flirting, is important. Masquerading is when a person is more interested in “hooking up” than they are getting to know someone better and moving toward a relationship. (The term “hooking up” is ambiguous, it includes anything from kissing to sex. Unfortunately, the clearer term “making out” no longer exists).

The Pew study examined the extent to which not all flirting behavior is appreciated or appropriate. Thirty-five percent of teen girls surveyed had blocked or unfriended someone who was flirting in a way that made them uncomfortable, which is double the 16% of boys who had taken that step. And 10% of teens who were in a relationship reported their partner used the internet to pressure them to engage in unwanted sexual activity.

Even though teens may be well-versed in using and communicating via text messaging and social media, they surely have things to contemplate regarding relationships—we all do.

Discussing personal issues with youth (and, yes, their social world does feel very personal to them) can be nerve-wracking for parents. This national survey should give you gusto. It found that kids age 10-15 are ready to talk about tough issues before their parents are, including the issue of being pressured into sexual activity.

Putting on my “curious cap,” and gripping it tightly, is my most effective way of approaching topics on relationships with my teens, which includes what is appropriate to do on social media. When I find wanting to chime in with “don’t do this” and “do that,” I cover my mouth with my imaginary cap because I know such phrases will shut my teens down. When I lead with my “curious cap” on, and ask them questions about what they are seeing, their opinions, etc., often my concerns get raised in a manner that helps my teens come to the conclusions I hoped for. If in the conversation I am not getting the impression that they know the risks of things like begging for photos, sending them (which I have written about in the past) then, by all means, I tell them the risks.

I am continually reminded that when we, as parents, as teachers, as mentors, wear our “curious caps” rather than our judgmental ones, teens are much more likely to come to us when issues arise. Many teens want to turn to key adults in their lives but they will not reach out if they feel the judgment and punishment will be too severe.  

** By the way, I would love your input on upcoming TTTs that I am working on: Do you know of parent groups forming to help prevent excessive screen time? What examples do you know of an adult learning to handle their innate discomfort of saying “no” to children (particularly around excessive screen time)? I have many many more topics up my sleeve, and I always enjoy hearing from you about topics you want to be addressed. So please hit reply and email me.

For this TTT talk with your kids about how they feel using texting and social media in a relationship. (As always start the conversation on a positive note)

  • Do you see any fun flirting happening online?
  • Understanding the meaning behind written words can be hard, do you know examples of when two people were communicating online and one person completely misread the intentions of the other person?
  • Do you know people whose relationships are almost all done via social media?
  • How important is messaging versus spending time together?

Now Available for Educators: A New Professional Development Resource
Thousands of schools around the world have presented Screenagers to their students, staff, and families, and many tell us they are committed to continuing the conversation around supporting screen time balance for their students. Educators can now access the film plus a 3-part Professional Development series developed by Learners Edge and Screenagers to dramatically impact the culture of learning in your school. Request more information about this 6-hour ready-to-use Professional Development module.

We encourage you to go to our website and read through some of the hundreds of past Tech Talk Tuesdays blog posts covering dozens of topics full information and tips. Feel free to share this newsletter with your community and encourage them to sign up for our Tech Talk Tuesday.

2018-11-13T13:34:30-08:00November 13, 2018|

Tech Talk 10/2/18

Before I start this week’s Tech Talk Tuesday (TTT), I would love to address two key things. I get a lot of emails from people wanting to know how to download the TTT so they can share it at meal times without needing a tech device to read it. I’ve added a “Print” button at the bottom of my newsletters so now you can bring it to a meal, in the car, hiking, you name it.

The other question I often get is, “Is it ok to share TTTs”? People often think it is copyrighted and can’t be shared. Thank you for asking and yes… yes, yes, share away. The goal of TTTs, as well as all the other resources on the website, is to help as many parents, teachers, youth and others as possible. In fact, many schools put the link to the TTTs on their website and in their newsletters. I would just ask that you please credit us when you share the TTT and put a link to our website, www.screenagersmovie.com.

Now onto today’s TTT.

When I ask a young person about how they might solve a major societal problem, so often they will start talking about an app-based solution. Thinking about the apps that people develop for social good is a great topic to discuss with our kids and students. The more we can help them think of tech as a tool, (rather than just an entertainment and social center) the better.

Recently my son, Chase, told me excitedly about having just met a guy in his mid-twenties named Andrew, who along with his friend, Miraj, got the idea to create the app, Harness. One day Andrew and Miraj were driving when Miraj had to hit the brakes on his car fast and this caused the change in the cup holder to spill on the floor. Miraj said, “what a waste” referring to all the change that just gets thrown around. A few minutes later Andrew and Miraj started noticing that almost all the billboards they were passing were asking for donations for various causes. Soon they started talking about how they could harness the digital revolution to get the change floating around in people’s lives to the people who could really benefit from it. From this, the app was born. With Harness, people can give a little change to a certain cause by rounding up on their purchases.

I have put some other examples here—and purposely included ones started by adults, and not just teens or young adults. The last thing I want youth to think is that this is yet another message that implies that a “successful” teen should have already started a foundation, created 2 apps, taken 10 AP courses, etc., etc.

Kiva.org was started back in 2005 by Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley. They were inspired by a talk they saw during graduate school. Kiva is all about microfinance, enabling people to give a small loan to others using the power of the internet. People lend as little as $25 to help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy or realize their potential. 1.2 billion dollars have been lent to date with a 97% repayment rate. I started doing this with my daughter Tessa years ago because reading about the stories of what people are doing all over the world has been so inspiring—and being able to make loans to them has been rewarding.

AstraLabs was developed by Amanda Southworth who was a teenager suffering from anxiety and depression when she turned to coding as a way to find relief. The app has games and exercises to help a person get through a panic attack. It also uses a person’s location to push local resources to help the person find help.

ScholarMatch, founded in 2010 by author Dave Eggers, delivers free in-person and online support to low-income students at key points in their college journey. The app enables students to develop a helpful support network from the time they first begin their college application all the way through to graduation.

For this week’s TTT, talk with your kids about the process of finding solutions. Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. What issues are dear to your heart and you could see doing more to help at some point in your life?
  2. How might an app and the internet help with that cause?
  3. If you can’t come up with ideas right away, put the topics on the fridge and see if ideas come up later.
  4. Set aside some time to sit down and look at the apps and websites together. See what you like and don’t like about them and how your app would be similar or different.

We encourage you to go to our website and read through some of the hundreds of past Tech Talk Tuesdays blog posts covering dozens of topics full information and tips. Feel free to share this newsletter with your community and encourage them to sign up for our Tech Talk Tuesday.

2018-10-03T08:03:54-08:00October 3, 2018|

Tech Talk 9/25/18

Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 12’s new Screen Time, is the feature parents have been waiting for. With it, we have a new tool to help prevent excessive screen time for our youth, as well as ourselves. The tool lets us limit overall time and allow you to limit the time on specific apps. It also does the same for websites and video games. This is a game changer because when these controls are built into the machine itself, it makes it nearly impossible for anyone to find ways around the restrictions on the devices.

Let’s start with school hours. As you know we are working hard with the AwayForTheDay.org campaign to have phones be put away during school time. Some schools still allow students to carry phones and now with Screen Time, it will be possible to have things like Snapchat, Fortnite, and Instagram not be accessible on your students’ iOS devices during school hours.

Screen Time is not just for phones, but also for iPads. While some schools have some controls on them, this new tool will let parents help ensure time grabbers can be prevented during school hours— the parents have to setup Screen Time, the schools do not have access to it controls. Preventing video games and other things from being accessible during school hours helps students focus on their classes.

What about how this now helps home life?

The goal of using something like this is to not over-parent, over-control, but to set up systems that help lessen the parent-child conflict. For example, rather than track down your tween to get the phone at, say, 9 pm, the phone can be configured to have all apps go off at 9 pm, including texting.

Adopting any new technology often sends chills down my spine. For those of you who feel the same way, I’ve included step-by-step instructions below on how to set this up. You and your child’s devices both have to be set up for this to work.

Even before setting up the system, I really recommend being strategic about how you go about doing this with your youth—minimizing any possible push back.  Consider starting with an evening of talking about all the wonderful things that do happen on screens. It is critical that our kids know that we get it, that we understand that screen time is really cool. When they believe we know there are many great things happening on screens, then they will be more willing to see our efforts to limit constant temptation as help, not punishment.

Another way to minimize the conflict is to start by having them, and yourself, collect data on personal daily use patterns, which Screen Time lets you do. Tracking and discussing use patterns can be an effective way to think about time limits.

Now on to the technical:

All Apple devices that you will be adding restrictions to—iPhones and iPads—need to be updated to iOS 12. Here is a step-by-step guide to walk you through setting up yours and your kids’ devices with these new controls.

Setting up Screen Time on your device:

  • Download iOS 12 on every device you want to manage going back as far as an iPhone 5s
  • Go to Settings and select Screen Time to turn it on your device
  • Scroll down to Use Screen Time Passcode – select a passcode that your kids won’t figure out and you will easily remember
  • Go to Downtime and select start and end times – This will block apps you select for the period of time you set
  • Go to App Limits and select app categories you want to limit then set the amount of time allowed. You will be prompted to enter your passcode
  • Go to Always Allowed and select apps you want accessible at all times (could be the phone, FaceTime and messages)
  • Go to Content and Privacy Restrictions – here you can allow or not allow apps to be downloaded and in-app purchases to be made. You can also block specific content here by selecting content restrictions and choosing specific content like movies, TV shows, games, books, etc…

Setting up Screen Time on your kids’ devices:

  • Make sure all devices (iPhones and iPads) have iOS 12 downloaded
  • Make sure all devices are set up on Family Sharing with you as the organizer and that Screen Time is turned on in Family Sharing
  • One adult in the family—the family organizer—can set up Family Sharing for the group from their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Then an invitation is sent to the individual members. They need to accept the invitation.
  • Every person in your group will need a distinct Apple ID. To learn how to get one for a child under 13, click here.
  • Once you’ve setup your family, you’ll see them in Screen Time settings. Tap on your child and walk through the setup assistant to turn on Screen Time for them.
  • Go to Settings and scroll down to Screen Time
  • Scroll down to Use Screen Time Passcode
  • Enter a Passcode that your kids won’t figure out and you will easily remember
  • Turn on Share Across Devices
  • Select child’s device (devices need to be set up on Family Sharing and signed into iCloud)
  • Go to Downtime and select start and end times – This will block apps you select for the period of time you set
  • Go to App Limits and choose categories of apps you want to limit then set the amount of time allowed. You will be prompted to enter your passcode
  • Go to Always Allowed and select apps you want accessible at all times (could be the phone, FaceTime and messages)
  • Go to Content and Privacy Restrictions —here you can allow or not allow apps to be downloaded and in-app purchases to be made. You can also block specific content here by selecting content restrictions and choosing particular content like movies, TV shows, games, books, etc.

As a note, Google has similar controls for Android phones that can be managed through its Family Link app, but this is limited to 13-year-olds and younger, leaving teenagers unsupervised on their devices. Many cell phone carriers have special plans and others ways to limit access to and time on apps as well.

If you know anyone with kids who might benefit from having help in preventing excessive screen time with their kids, please forward this TTT to them.

For today’s TTT, open a conversation about this new tool.

  1. How does everyone feel about using the tool first to see how much time they are spending on different screen activities?
  2. How can using this tool help everyone reach tech time goals?
  3. Can people see this helping decrease tech time conflicts?
  4. Do you think this tool can help you to be more productive? Get more sleep?

 

2018-10-03T08:14:31-08:00September 28, 2018|