blog » April 2, 2018 by Renee

#30Seconds In-Depth: Navigating Kid’s Technology & Screen Time With Parent Coach Sheryl Gould! by Renee

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5 years ago
#30Seconds In-Depth: Navigating Kid’s Technology & Screen Time With Parent Coach Sheryl Gould!

"How much screen time is too much?" "What is the right age to give my child a smartphone?" "How can I keep my child safe and set limits?" These are common questions often asked by parents when it comes to their kids and technology. We were excited to welcome our #30Seconds contributor, Sheryl Gould, as our #30Seconds Twitter chat guest. Sheryl, a parent coach and founder of Moms of Tweens and Teens, answered these questions about parenting in the digital age – and many more! Read on to learn more...

Q: What are some of the common questions and concerns we need to address as parents navigating our tween’s and teen’s use of technology?

  • How much screen time is too much?
  • How do we set limits and rules around technology?
  • How do we know if our kids are ready for a smartphone?
  • How do we keep our adolescents safe from the risks and problems of technology?
  • How do we have these conversations with our kids?

Q: What age should we let our kids get a smartphone?

Base readiness on maturity versus age when thinking about getting your child a smartphone or tablet. Later is safer because smartphones can be addictive distractions that take away from schoolwork and expose children to issues like online bullies, child predators or sexting. Ask yourself if they follow your rules and directions in other areas of life?

Q: How do we set guidelines?

  • Communication is KEY. Discuss some of the risks and problems with using the Internet and smartphones.
  • Restrict screen time usage to certain hours.
  • Use a cell phone contract to get the conversation started. Get them involved in the discussion and allow them to have input.

Q: How do we keep them safe?

  • Use apps and tools to set limits and keep them safe. Here is a list of apps of concern.
  • Discuss clear expectations for online behavior: You treat everyone with respect. Don’t engage in name-calling or inappropriate behavior or conversations. This includes photos, videos and comments.
  • Keep private! My mantra is if you don’t want your grandmother to know about it, don’t post it on social media. This also means never giving out private information if a stranger could obtain that content.
  • Let them know people aren’t always who they say they are. Even someone you meet on social media and chat with for months might be lying about their identity.
  • Tell your kids to never give away any personal information or post your location publicly to people you don’t know.
  • Have access to their passwords.
  • Require permission before they download anything.

Q: How can we make technology a positive rather than a negative that we’re always fighting against?

It’s much easier to enforce a rule if you’re committed to the same rules. Encourage your family to each set goals around technology. Discuss with them our own struggles with social media and technology and how you want to be present. Encourage open dialogue around technology by asking questions. For example, “What do you like and dislike most about social media?” Encourage face-to-face connection. Have technology-free zones, plan family activities, invite friends over, take time to visit neighbors.

Q: How do we protect against cyber-bullying and inappropriate behavior?

It’s seven times more likely with teens that a bully will be a friend, former friend or former dating partner. Let your tween or teen know if someone, even a friend, makes them feel uncomfortable to let you know. Reassure them that you won’t make any decisions about it without their input. Help them understand the importance of not sharing any nude or suggestive photos with anyone, even if they know and trust them. These photos can get stolen, shared or posted publicly.

Pay attention to changes in behavior. A teen who is normally happy and upbeat, but who is suddenly down and depressed, may be a victim of bullying. Pay particular attention any time your child is in the middle of a new romantic relationship or if they break up with a current boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s never too late. Even if your kids are older, they will benefit from an ongoing conversation with you about Internet use and safety.

Be sure to follow @sheryl_gould, visit, check out Sheryl's Facebook page and read her 30Seconds tips.

Talk about relevant! I’m so looking forward to this chat!
Sheryl Gould
Renee Herren - Me too Renee! I'm looking forward to talking about how we can be proactive versus reactive with our kids technology!
Elisa Schmitz
Love this! So excited to talk about this topic with you, Sheryl Gould . I have missed you tons! Can't wait to catch up with you, chica! xoxo
Sheryl Gould
Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds - I have really missed you too Elisa! So happy to be back with you and can't wait to chat!
Nicole DeAvilla
I love learning from Sheryl Gould . This is a timely topic. :)
Sheryl Gould
Nicole DeAvilla Thank you Nicole! I'm excited to be with you tonight!

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