Ep. 84: Contain Your Teen’s Tech
Joshua Wayne, author of new book The Simple Parenting Guide to Technology, clues Andy in on the latest statistics and solutions to teens’ addiction to technology. Plus, how to adjust your rules–or set them–during the coronavirus pandemic.
Full Show Notes
Did you know the average teenager spends over seven hours a day in front of a screen? And that doesn’t including mandatory screen time for homework, Zoom classes, and Google Classroom assignments! Teens spend an average seven hours on entertainment screen-time: video games, apps, social media, YouTube, aimlessly browsing the web. Passive entertainment is taking up more and more of teens’ free time every day, with some research estimating teens spend as much as 40% of their life in front of a screen.
This is a worrisome statistic for parents–and anyone invested in the next generation! The teenage years are critical for cognitive brain development, forming positive relationships, and practicing social skills; oversaturating the teen brain with technology can have lasting negative effects. But considering how social media and other screen-based activities play a major role in the modern teen social scene—especially now that COVID-19 has suspended in-person activities in most parts of the country—parents have to walk a fine line when it comes to their teens’ technology. How much screen time is appropriate? What should parents do to balance phone and TV time with other important activities? What happens if a teenager becomes entirely too invested in their online life, staying up hours into the night playing video games, Snapchatting, or scrolling through Instagram?
This week, I spoke with expert Joshua Wayne, author of The Simple Parenting Guide to Technology. Wayne’s book provides parents with incredibly practical ways to approach screen time in their homes, and with COVID-19 spurring a massive increase in social media use and virtual connectivity, his perspective is more valuable now than ever!
Wayne knows that technology is here to stay, and fighting for zero screen time is not only futile but unrealistic. In our interview, Wayne explains how a technology agreement can set guidelines for use in the family (and how to implement one!). However, he knows all families are at different points when it comes to their relationship and reliance and technology, and provides great insights on how parents can adjust these guidelines to their individual situation. According to Wayne, the most important thing parents can do is maintain open and honest conversations with their teens about technology. Using electronic devices is part of everyday life, but getting outside, stowing phones at night, and in-person interactions are all things Wayne sees as productive ways to help teens balance life with screens!
Wayne is also acutely aware of the problems that come with overreliance on technology. On top of basic guidelines and approaches parents can bring into their homes, Wayne also covers difficult topics like:
- Adjusting screen time hours during the pandemic
- How to stay realistic about screen time uses
- What to do if a teen gets defiant or aggressive
- The best way to implement parental controls
- How to talk about the big P: pornography
Technology is an integral part of family life in the 21st century, and it’s here to stay. Whether you need help reigning in your screen-addicted teen or just want a good set of guidelines to follow, Joshua Wayne offers some excellent insights!
The 25-minute public version is free to listen to, and the 47-minute extended version, packed with extra goodies, is reserved for site members. Log in or start a free trial to access everything our site has to offer!
Word-for-word examples of WHAT to say to your teen
1. If your teen reacts with protests to new rules around technology:
“Hey, I understand you don’t like this, I understand this isn’t your preference. I’m here to talk with you about it and hear your concerns. This is going to happen. But I’m open to discussing with you how it happens.”
2. When your teen gets upset over new limits:
3. Add stipulation to your tech agreement to show you are reasonable:
4. Address your teen’s threats of self-harm right away:
5. If you find out your teen has been looking at pornographic images or video, start a conversation with:
5. Tell your teen that you’re trying to help them learn how to set limits, not control them:
About Joshua Wayne
Joshua Wayne is the author of The Simple Parenting Guide to Technology and co-creator of the One Caring Adult online community. He holds a Masters Degree in Counselor Education, is a Nationally Certified Counselor, and has been featured as a Life Coach on the Style Network.
Since 1996, Joshua has worked with kids in just about every setting imaginable: drug and alcohol treatment, with at-risk foster youth, community mental health, private practice and as a Director of Special Education at District of Columbia Public Schools. He has trained and consulted across the country for police departments, school districts, state and local governments, and youth organizations on how to work effectively with teens and their families.
He lives with his wife Bettina and son Hunter in Washington, D.C.