LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – In the digital age, many parents are struggling with deciding when a child is ready for a cell phone and how much time they should spend on screens.
Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics is helping families create safe and healthy media habits.
Bennett Cox is busy with sports, so he hasn’t been on his iPad much this summer.
His mom Lezlie has been thinking about getting the 11-year-old a cell phone.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and AT&T are launching tools to help families decide if kids are ready for a phone and help create safe, responsible media and technology use.
This questionnaire asks does your child keep track of their things and whether you trust their judgement when you aren’t there to gauge if the family is in the ready zone or not yet.
Parents can also build a customized media plan for the whole family.
Lezlie says it’s best when kids can just be kids without screens.
Media use among tweens and teens has skyrocketed since the pandemic teens spend over 8 and half hours a day on screens, according to common sense media.
“I mostly play games because I can friend my friends and then we can play together,” said sixth grader Bennet Cox.
“I’m a little nervous with social media, cyberbullying, things like that. But he’s in a lot of sports and at friends’ houses. And it might be easier for us to make plans if he had one,” Lezlie Cox, Bennet’s mom said.
“People have used parent controls and other sorts of monitoring technology, but that’s not the only answer. A lot of it’s going to be about saying to your kids, hey, show me your digital world, show me what games you play or what YouTubers you follow, and have healthy conversations,” said Dr. Jenny Radesky, assistant professor of Pediatrics at University of Michigan Medical School.
“What boundaries do you want to set around technology so kids can have healthy sleep, they can have undistracted homework time. Whatever is important to your family. Controlling tech and enjoying it, not feeling controlled by it,” said Dr. Radesky.
“I’ll tell my mom if I’m watching something that’s not good, because sometimes it just pops up,” Bennet said.
“Kids should be out playing not sitting at home on the on the iPads or, you know, doing social media stuff,” said Lezlie.