Citing sound and reliable research, psychologist Jean Twenge (San Diego State University) recently emphasized in an article in Time that the surge in depression and other mental health issues among adolescents is directly linked to heavy technology use.

She has set the following limits with her three children:

– “No phones or tablets in the bedroom at night; the kids use real alarm clocks to wake up.

– No use of devices within an hour of bedtime; the blue light and psychological stimulation interferes with sleep.

– Device use is limited to two hours of leisure time a day, plus legitimate use for homework.”

Setting limits is not always easy, and here are five reasons why limits are good for children:

  1. Limits teach children self-discipline and model taking responsibility for oneself.
  2. Limits keep children safe.
  3. Limits keep children healthy.
  4. Limits help children cope with uncomfortable feelings (including those that come up when limits are set!).
  5. Limits show children that you care.  When set, they ultimately feel better and are less anxious.  They want to know that you are in charge.

2 thoughts on “Setting Limits on Technology Use At Home

  1. This is something that needs to be taken seriously. My niece, a school psychologist at a local public school, recently posted a link to an article on Facebook, “Number of children going to ER with suicidal thoughts, attempts doubles, study finds”
    (https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/08/health/child-teen-suicide-er-study/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0KkkRyKTylaUoXNy5L3SEWUh4gd0-h9tP4WCwOq3eXV3ZwuEuBp1siiGI)

    and posted this comment:

    “Within my career bubble, I have experienced this statistic first hand. When I started, I could put energy into helping children make and keep friends, but now my weeks are spent on saving lives and handling intense emotions. Our schools were not prepared for this and I hope we can continue to put effort into making mental health a priority.”

    Personally, I feel children are not developmentally able to handle some of what arises in their worlds via social media (which includes group text and chat formats), yet they are too frequently exposed to pressures and hurtful comments they cannot adequately process or put into perspective. This is timely and important advise!

  2. Thanks for these thoughts Paul and thank you Nancy for sharing your niece’s comments. I would add to Jean Twenge’s recommendations: be a role model. It’s hard to limit our children’s exposure to technology when we are checking our phones every 5 minutes.
    Technology can be wonderful and it certainly has a place in our lives, but it’s no substitute for it.

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