I wrote Tech Generation: Raising Balanced Kids in a Hyper-Connected World, with my good friend and colleague, Dr. Jon Lasser. It will be published by Oxford University Press on August 1, 2018 and is currently available by pre-order through Amazon. Our book combines our knowledge our clinical and personal experiences as psychologists and parents into a practical, user-friendly, research-based guide to help parents navigate the often difficulty waters of this technological world.
To be clear: We are not here to vilify technology. Technology provides us with countless benefits that we experience every day. Still, there is such a thing, as Shakespeare wrote, “too much of a good thing.” What we are seeking is balance, because that will enable us to experience more of the benefits and few negatives of technology. The pull of technology is strong and incessant though. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 45% of teens report being online “almost constantly.” Too much time on our smartphones and devices means that many of our physiological needs (e.g., sleep, physical activity) and psychological needs (e.g., in-person social interactions) are getting displaced.
While there are no simple solutions to life’s complicated problems (think healthcare reform, peace in the Middle East, weight loss), there are effective parenting strategies that can help us limit the pull of the screens. One thing we know for sure is that this is not going to get easier over time. The genie is out of the bottle! As parents, when we learn to manage the pull of screens more effectively, we and our kids stand to reap the benefits.