Good guidelines regarding kids and technology

Happy Wednesday!

FYI: This is the first in our series about kids and technology, and what is working to help parents get control of kids’ screen time. Stay tuned for more on this topic! (Or better yet sign up here to receive these newsletters in your inbox if you don’t already : )
What constitutes good guidelines, when thinking about kids and technology?

Can too much screen time hurt a child?
Can too little?
These are the kind of questions we’re going to explore over these next few weeks.

Starting with that top one: what are some good guidelines to have around screen time and your child?

We’re doing a deep dive this month on kids and technology, so I feel qualified to answer this question : )

Here’s what I’ve learned:

Continue reading “Good guidelines regarding kids and technology”

321: What is actually helpful for little kids when it comes to learning and technology? – My conversation with parents, teachers and authors Matt Miles and Joe Clement


Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll down to the very bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

Today’s guests have written a book, called Screen Schooled, which has had a huge impact on how I think about my teenagers and their educations.
I found Matt Miles’ and Joe Clement’s book so compelling, and so full of great ideas for helping teens navigate the modern technical world, that I knew I wanted their take on young kids and tech. (They are both parents, each raising young children in their families.)
I knew I wanted to bring that perspective to you!
We discuss:
– How 21st-century skills are the same skills that human beings have needed throughout history
– What those most important skills are (hint: they are not tapping/swiping/navigating in our devices)
– How to incorporate technology into your life and family, for the biggest benefits and least amount of frustration and worry
– Matt and Joe’s responses to some fantastic We Turned Out Okay Facebook group questions:
“Any advice on what is actually helpful for preschoolers when it comes to learning and technology? There are a million apps and games billed as “educational” but what’s actually beneficial?”

“Often I hear the advice to “talk to your children about what they’re watching/playing”… So far the only times I’ve used this technique is to help them see why a certain game is questionable. I don’t otherwise ENJOY talking about the inane stuff they choose to do on their devices, so talking to them about it positively is really hard. What advice do these teachers have?”

“Will our children fall behind if they are not introduced to much technology at young ages?”

“I’m interested to hear how things have changed during [Matt and Joe’s] careers, and how they anticipate things evolving in the future… Since most of us have little kids and it’s hard to conceive of the world they’ll be living in 10 to 15 years from now.”

Hope you enjoy this conversation!

(Here is the link to this post : )

PS One place where you can get help with your challenges while raising little kids is the online community that I run, NPC.
During January 2020 you can spend your whole first month in the community for just $1! Click here for details.)

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320: Kids and tech: what you need to know

Screens are here to stay – which is awesome on the one hand, and completely frightening on the other.
Especially when it comes to little kids.
It’s so hard to know:
– what is the right amount of screen time
– what is damaging or detrimental
– how to come up with guidelines about this in the first place
– how to implement those guidelines in the second

We discuss all of this today – in fact, we are talking kids and tech all month!

Join us as we kick off with a show about the basics:
Good guidelines to keep in mind with kids and technology, and also how you can implement those guidelines.
Click play to dive in!

Here’s a cheat sheet for this episode:

The guidelines –
1. We all need boredom in our lives.
Having digital (or nondigital, for that matter) distractions for every moment when we might feel bored creates people who do not know how to amuse themselves.
It even creates people who don’t know themselves.
So while it might not feel great, making sure that kids have a chance to be bored and need to figure out how to amuse themselves is super important.

2. Less is more.
The more time digital devices spend turned over and put away on a high shelf, the better.

3. Don’t let tech interfere with human connection and bonding.

How to implement the guidelines –
1. Pick your time with care.
2. Put the tech away, for lots of every day.
3. Always, ALWAYS be sure to watch YouTube along with your kids.
As kids and media specialist Devorah Heitner says, “there is no safe way for young children to watch YouTube alone.”
4. Mind your own tech use as well.

Here are the links that come up in today’s episode:
The newsletter I did about YouTube, the most dangerous place on the Internet.
(And here is where you can sign up to get future newsletters delivered right into your inbox : )

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, a great PBS show

Anti-bullying expert Brooks Gibbs invites kids to try and bully him, the place where you can work closely with me to solve your biggest parenting challenges, feel happy inside, and truly enjoy family time <3

Today’s episode is sponsored by the amazing Janine Halloran, expert in teaching kids coping skills, who has created a great resource to help your child handle it when the going gets tough!
Listen to today’s show to find out how to get 15% off your order, and then
Click to check out Janine’s Coping Skills for Kids Cue Card Decks.


Thanks for listening and reading!

116: How to Navigate Your Child’s Digital World with Mom and Kids-and-Media Expert Devorah Heitner

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll on down to the bottom of this post and press the triangular “play” button.
Enjoy the show!

What worries you about technology and your kids?
Is it online predators? Cyber bullying?
The idea that they’ll disappear into their little devices and you’ll never see them again?

My guest today, Devorah Heitner, is an expert at helping us understand technology and our kids – and ourselves.

Because like it or not, we are raising digital natives; we need to get this right!

Devorah has appeared on the Today show, NPR, the Discovery Education Channel; she’s been featured in Time magazine and Real Simple. Most recently, she’s written Screenwise, a book about raising kids in this digital age, highly recommended!

Today – election day if you’re listening in real time – Devorah is on the show to help us understand both raising kids in our digital world, and how to teach civility in this era of utterly uncivil political/public discourse.

To read more about my conversation with Devorah, view her amazing TED-X talk, and to listen to our conversation, go to!

Earlier in her career, Devorah did something really interesting: she helped privileged college students connect with underprivileged third-graders.

As she became interested in technology, the lessons she learned while watching those connections stayed with her, because the very fact of the connections had to do with a key human trait:


Devorah’s TED-X talk, “Empathy is the App,” shares about her research with middle schoolers, kids just a little bit older, most likely, than your kids are right now.

She talks about how much it hurts when your friends are posting pictures on instagram of a birthday party that you weren’t invited to; about kids learning not to continually text-spam when they’re not getting a response; about how tough it is for kids when their parents get so buried in their phones that they ignore the child standing right in front of them.

Each of these issues’ solutions is the same: empathy.

In fact, empathy comes up in just about every part of our conversation, from her new book, Screenwise, about raising kids in the digital age, to how we parents can model the correct way to disagree (hint: it’s not the way the political candidates have been disagreeing!)

I hope you enjoy our conversation. I know it’s one I’ll return to again and again in my quest to remember that empathy must be the basis for how I interact with the world.

Key Links:

Devorah’s book, Screenwise, is a must read if you are raising kids in this digital culture.

Along with her son, Devorah recommends the Finn Caspian podcast.

Also, check out Black College TV, which comes up in our conversation today!