Did you hear the one about the 7-year-old boy who opened a Wii on Christmas morning and when his parents finally checked on him, he’d played for 18 hours? Or the one about the 13-year-old girl who accidentally “butt-dialed” an old acquaintance whose number now belonged to a transsexual prostitute, who then launched a vendetta against the girl? Catherine Steiner-Adair, a psychologist whom parents seem to call whenever there’s a digital/psychological crisis at home, has heard all these stories and more, and shares them in “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age.”
A new policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics on October 28 recommends parents control the quantity and content of the media their children consume, keep tech gadgets out of kids’ bedrooms, and model good behavior for kids by limiting their own tech use. Steiner-Adair advises the same limits, and backs these up with examples from the children and families she works with as a counselor. Here are the key lessons “The Big Disconnect” taught me, and the grades I’d give myself for how well I’m handling tech at each age.
Read: ‘Big Disconnect’ Offers Guidance for Parents in a Tech-Crazed World | Mediashift | PBS.