Managing the Media Monster in Your Home

Managing the Media Monster in Your Home

DCHS Director of Guidance Katie Reynolds recently hosted a parent meeting “Managing the Media Monster.” If you missed that event or her appearance on Fox45 TV news discussing the topic, you’ll want to review some of the points she covered in this blog.

Did you know…
The average time spent with screen media among 8- to 18-year-olds is more than twice the average amount they spend in school each year.
Seventy-eight percent of teens check their cellular device at least hourly.
Three-quarters of teens  feel the immediate need to respond to a text.
One of every two teens feel they are addicted to their digital devices.
More than one third of teens admit that they argue daily about the time they spend on their cellular device with their parents

The average time spent with screen media among 8 to18-year-olds is more than twice the average amount they spend in school each year. This massive amount of time spent interacting with technology (instead of spending time with family and friends, doing homework, and developing other interests) has a huge impact on our teens and our families.

It is even possible that your teen could have an addiction. If your child is preoccupied anticipating the next time they will be able to use a digital device, if you have arguments over how much time your child spends online, if your child has lied to you about how much time they spend online or gaming, or if your child has given up spending time with friends or has missed a family outing in order to spend time online/gaming, then you should consider the possibility that there is a serious issue.  (These characteristics mimic those of a person addicted to alcohol).

Embracing a balanced approach to media and technology and  modeling reasonable technology restraints for your children is recommended to prevent problematic media use. Reynolds suggested tips to help manage the media monster in your home.

  • Declare tech-free zones and times.
  • Check the ratings of the games your children are playing.
  • Discuss the issue of technology use with your child.
  • Help kids understand the effects of multi-tasking.
  • Parents must walk the walk and model appropriate technology use.
  • Develop a family technology plan that determines when and where kids get screen time, sets up parental oversight, etc.
  • Install monitoring software on all devices, such as Qustodio or Net Nanny.
  • Be aware of sites and apps that are known to allow bullying or other inappropriate behavior by the very nature of the way the site is used. (You should be wary of Kik, AskFM, YikYak, Tinder, Poke, Whisper, and Snapchat, but this list is by no means exhaustive.)
  • Seek expert help if needed.