As new generations grow up using smartphones, some psychologists worry about the effect of pervasive connected technology.

As new generations grow up using smartphones, some psychologists worry about the effect of pervasive connected technology.

People who are growing up with smartphones are having less sex and drinking less alcohol than previous generations, some research indicates. Other studies also show this generation is more depressed, lonelier, more isolated and getting less sleep.

Psychologist Jean M. Twenge says these young consumers, a group she calls iGen, is “on the brink of a mental-health crisis.”

Has the smartphone harmed an entire generation?

Guests

  • Jean Twenge Psychology professor, San Diego State University; author of "iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood"
  • Adam Pletter Child psychologist based in Bethesda, Maryland who specializes in the healthy use of digital technology; he teaches a course, iParent, on parenting in the digital age

How iGen Are You?

Digital Parenting Tips

Adam Pletter, a child psychologist based in Bethesda, Maryland, specializes in the healthy use of digital technology. He teaches a course, iParent, on parenting in the digital age. He had these tips to share for parents:

1. Acknowledge that the smartphone is an all-in-one adult device so offer levels of digital access in a proactive way (opposed to reacting later to a predictable problem).

2. Start with a basic Family Rules contract writing down basic expectations like any other parenting decision (samples can be googled or there is a customizable template my website, iparent101.com.

3. Discuss the apps with your kids and turn on available privacy settings within the apps.

4. Set up and use some type parental control system to have enforceable limits of the expectations outlined in your Family Rules Contract (see #2); you can use the built-in controls under SETTINGS or my favorite 3rd party solution is Circle with Disney as it gives parents an easy way to turn the internet and specific apps on/off remotely through the parent’s phone (brilliant!).

5. Family Sharing (built-in to Apple products only) can be a huge advantage for parents with the ‘Ask-to-Buy’ feature whereby the parents must approve of the apps/music/movies dowloaded through iTunes. This forces the dialogue between parent and child (so important!) and ensures that parents know what is on the child’s phone. The communication between parents and children is the key, so children grow up to be savvy, safe digital iGen citizens.

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