Kids, teens and smartphones continue to be a topic of concern for parents and educators, sometimes even kids themselves.

NewTechKids tracks developments and expert opinion and is pleased to share some great insight:

Magazine Article: No One Knows Exactly What Social Media is Doing to Teens (the Atlantic, June 13, 2023)
“Late last month, the U.S. surgeon general issued an advisory—a format reserved for public-health issues that demand the nation’s immediate attention. “Nearly every teenager in America uses social media,” the report read, “and yet we do not have enough evidence to conclude that it is sufficiently safe for them.” In response, the Biden administration announced a new interagency task force that has been given a year to come up with a slate of policy recommendations that will help “safeguard” children online.

Op-Ed: Get Phones Out of Schools Now (the Atlantic, June 6, 2023)
Jonathan Haidt is in favour of phone-free schools. We concur. On a scale of 1-5 (in terms of moderate control to an outright ban), he’s in favour of the strictest levels: phones locked away in pouches or special lockers for the whole school day.

News Article: The Parents Saying No to Smartphones (The Free Press, May 22, 2023)
The Wait Until 8th non-profit works with parents who pledge to keep smartphones away from their kids until 8th grade (13 or 14 years old). The pledge only activates when 10 parents in a classroom sign on, guaranteeing some support in numbers. Nicholas Kardaras, Ph.D., LCSW-R, a psychologist who treats youth and young adults with screen addiction, “endorses the Wait Until 8th pledge, saying 13 is the sweet spot when children are old enough to “handle” some of the internet’s toxicity. He says his two identical twin boys had to hit that age before they were given smartphones. “If I kept them Amish until 18, they would go crazy at 19,” he says.”

Podcast: Why are Teens in Crisis? Here’s What the Evidence Says (The Ezra Klein Show, The New York Times, May 19, 2023)
Jean Twenge, a research psychologist and author of the books “iGen” and “Generations,” has spent years poring over mental health statistics and survey data trying to answer this question. In her view, the story in the data is clear: Our teenage mental health crisis is the direct product of the rise of smartphones and social media.

News Article: What to Know about Limiting Your Child’s Screen Time (The New York Times, May 24, 2023)
This article outlines specific tools (Google, Apple, Android and social media) which help parents monitor and control screen time.

(Cover Photo: Copyright @ Vanessa Loring)