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Episode Info: 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 i...
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