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Jenny Radesky
Jenny Radesky

Expert strategies that (really) help kids reduce screen time

The Washington Post 1/26/24

When researchers last year tracked the smartphones of 200 volunteers aged 11 to 17, they found teens weren’t just mindless screen zombies. In fact, they used all sorts of strategies to try to disconnect: Some left on “do not disturb” to silence never-ending notifications. Others charged their phones outside their bedrooms to help them get sleep.

Turns out, teens want time away from phones and social media, too. If it feels like everyone in your family is spending too much time looking at screens instead of each other, you’re not alone. Giant corporations are working against all of us to make social media, games and apps ever harder to put down.

“There is not a generational decline in willpower,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy said in a recent interview. “The platforms are designed specifically to maximize how much time we spend on them.”

The good news is that it’s never too late for a family tech reset. But you won’t find the solution only in parental controls and screen-time restrictions. The most effective approach is to listen to what your kids say about their online experiences and make rebalancing a project for the whole family. That includes parents taking a hard look at their own phone habits, too.

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