Screen Time: Time for a Family (and National) Conversation?

Screen shot of web site featuring ABC's special report on Screen Time

Last night, my family watched ABC’s Special News ReportScreen Time” by Diane Sawyer. It featured families struggling to find balance in their homes alongside experts and research findings on the impact of screen time.

Today’s generation of kids is the first to be raised with devices, leaving many parents feeling overwhelmed.  The show prompted open, honest conversation with my kids about technology and our screen habits. I highly recommend watching it with your family. The content is appropriate for elementary-aged children all the way up to teens. Commercial breaks provide a great time for conversation.

Family Screen Time

Did you know that adults spend an average of 49 days a year looking at their phones? And that we unlock our phones an average of 80 times per day?

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, shares in an interview that he thinks people are spending too much time on their phones and that “privacy has become a crisis.” In response, Apple recently added “screen time” data (found in Settings) to help users understand how much time they are spending on devices and on which applications.

The goal of ABC’s Screen Time is not to shame or blame parents or kids. The goal is to increase awareness and begin a national conversation…starting in our homes.  Screens have changed how we interact with each other and we’re just beginning to understand the impact. One little girl thoughtfully asked her mom who was distracted by her device to “listen with her whole face.”

A few questions that the program explores:

  • Are we spending so much time on screens that we are hurting our relationships?
  • Privacy issues and what advertisers are learning about us
  • How some schools are dealing with cell phones and students
  • The impact of selfies on self-esteem
  • Why do some kids seem to get addicted to gaming

The program ends on a hopeful note, sharing the story of a family that made positive changes to how they use technology while adding a lot more fun and adventure back into their family life.

We’re ALL learning as we go in this tech generation.  ABC’s Screen Time provides a great starting point for what will no doubt be ongoing conversations about family screen time in our homes and across the nation.

PASS IT ON. Jessica Speer’s weekly BLOG focuses on helping kids and families thrive. If you know someone who might appreciate this content, please pass it on! Click here to follow blog via email or social media.

Published by Jessica Speer, Author

Author and Advocate for Kids and Families

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