180: A Hodgepodge

Nice hodgepodge! I’m glad everything is humming along so nicely, David.

Re: screenagers (nice term), I tell my kids they should look at middle-ages people glued to their phones like people started looking at smokers. Make it uncool.

Ha! My kid does not exactly view me as an arbiter of cool—I am guessing your kids are younger :wink:

What has worked:

Before I gave my child his first phone (he was 13 years old and entering junior high), he and I watched the just-released 2018 PBS documentary, “The Facebook Dilemma,” which focused on threats to democracy, privacy, and security. This documentary and one that came out the following year, on China, “The Age of AI,” made such an impression that he’s exhibited zero interest in getting a social media account, opting to coordinate with his friends by text instead. (I have not even had to talk to him about this.)

Like David and Mike’s kids, he’s also grown up with the TV/computer in the family room, not in the bedroom. Sleep is sacred.

Another thing that has helped, focus-wise, is that he has two laptops—one for gaming and one for schoolwork. Initially, my husband and I felt guilty about caving into his desire for a gaming rig, but benefits soon became apparent.

The gaming/leisure set-up lives downstairs in the family room. The homework computer lives upstairs in the home office, which he shares with me. One and a half years of COVID homeschooling reinforced this separation, which has served him well. When he enters the office, he locks into his work “focus mode” and gets things done.

Two laptops take resources, but the basic idea is what David preaches, “focus modes,” and there are various ways to implement them.

Of course, there are still issues—more gaming and youtube than I would prefer, less work, and fewer of the analog delights I recall from my childhood, but things could be worse.
@MacSparky and @mikeschmitz, you offered some great advice in this episode. Being honest with ourselves and our kids, admitting our mistakes, and setting the best example we can muster goes a long way.

It’s also lovely to hear how the two of you have been thriving.:blush:


I don’t know if you know, but there’s a blog called Screenagers: Screenagers Movie | Blog.

It’s been around for years, written by a California physician about all things screens and other topics regarding teenagers. Worth a look and worth the weekly email in your inbox if you have kids. She also has a movie and book out