Helping Parents and Kids Manage Phones, Internet, and Gaming

How old is too young for a phone? Is gaming harmful to our kids? How much technology is too much? How do you manage internet with your family? We talk with Dr. Jay Berk, a licensed psychologist and an expert in working with children and families. He is the author of two books: “A Parent’s Quick Guide to Electronic Addiction” and “Codeswitching: Social Skills in the Screen-Age”.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Parents from time immemorial have worried about the impact of the “new technology” and this goes back to our great great great grandparents worrying about the influence of novels to parents of the 50’s worry about too much time on the phone, to parents of the 80s worrying about too much TV, and on to the present where we worry about screen time, texting, and gaming. 
  • We parents are digital “immigrants” while our kids are digital natives. How does this dynamic present challenges?
  • How to keep up with what our kids are doing?
  • What are the general best practices for elementary aged kids using digital technology?
    • What age should kids be given a phone?
    • What are reasonable rules for phone use?      
  • How do things change as our kids each around age 11 or 12 and on into their teen years
  • How important is the use of digital media to socialize for this generation?
  • When should parents worry?
    • Is the child getting enough sleep?
    • Are they eating well?
    • Are they getting enough exercise?
    • Are they doing well in school?
    • Do they have real life friends?
    • If so, they are probably just fine.
  • What are the signs that our kids may be too involved with digital technology or gaming?
  • How much screen time is too much for tweens? For teens?
  • Do different types of technology have different risks and benefits? Internet? Gaming? Porn?
  • What are some reasonable rules for families to set in regards to technology, screen time, and gaming?  
  • How to get buy-in from our tweens and teens?
  • App-tell kid
  • A challenge particular to families adopting or fostering older children or teens is that often our kids come to us with having had little supervision or rules about internet use? How can we establish healthy habits when the rules are new to them?


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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Podcast Producer: Megown SoundWorks

Image Credit: Amina Filkins