Surviving Screens & Getting Your Kid Back

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About the episode

Thank you for listening to the Hingham ‘Cast. Kids have been lounging in Comfys and pajamas for more than a year, many with unfettered access to technology. With more and more schools heading back full time, are they ready to re-enter polite society?

“Mom, what’s an abortion?” The question threw me. Why was my 12-year-old daughter asking? She’d heard about it on TikTok along with unfiltered information on sex, abuse, drugs and wanted to know more. I’m of course glad she felt safe to ask me, but man, had we let our parental controls of technology fly out the window. In the height of the pandemic, when the experts told struggling parents, not to worry, that we weren’t wrecking our kids with too much screen time, I feel like I ripped a hole in the carefully tended fence I had constructed to keep technology at bay. Now I’m paying the price (Roblox, Roblox, Roblox!).

On today’s episode, I commiserate with another local mom Cindy Farina and hear from her daughter Eliza on the good, the bad and the ugly of increased access. I also talk with Penn State psychologist Meghan Owenz. She says the long term consequences of increased screen time in the pandemic are still being sorted, but in general, research shows too much screen time is linked with higher rates of poor sleep, depression and childhood obesity. While not all screen time is created equal, and there have been positives like keeping kids connected with friends, I’m ready to scale back and re-connect. Owenz preaches a system called SPOIL. I tried some of the tactics this past week and guess what? They worked! It’s a process, but I found her advice enormously helpful. I hope you do too.

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