Tag Archive for: technology


The implications of our children spending more time on devices during this pandemic are nothing to ignore.

Right now, our sons and daughters may be in front of screens more than ever out of necessity, or desperation. It’s crucial that we, as parents, cultivate conversation and create boundaries in our homes to help protect our sons and daughters from the harmful effects of device dependency during this time.

We cannot stick our heads in the sand and hand over digital devices to our kids without understanding the ramifications of doing so.

Tom Kersting, a nationally renowned psychotherapist, speaker, and author just released his new book Disconnected full of information and tips we need to lead our children well when it comes to technology and addictive devices.

Take the time to listen to my discussion with Tom about his new book and what it is we parents need to know as we enter into this new school year on screens and beyond!

  • Get Amy’s Family Cellphone Contract HERE
  • Get Tom’s Book- Disconnected HERE
  • Listen to Amy’s interview- Intentionally Raising Kids on Devices- on Tom’s Reconnected Parent Podcast HERE
  • Check out Tom’s website HERE



Whose bright idea was it to think that giving our youth iPhones was a good idea?

And why have we continued to follow along knowing that giving our kids these powerful digital devices isn’t smart?

I’m not sure how our family fell into society’s technology trap, but we did. Our teenagers have personal smartphones, but they don’t come without limits, rules, and restrictions.


1. Have a family cell phone contract

Read more

Over the holiday break, my husband and I continuously threatened to shut off our kids’ cell phone data plans, the wifi, the cable box- anything that might get our relaxing students to do something other than stare at a screen in their downtime.

How badly we want 2018 to be the Year of Successfully Parenting Our Screenagers.

Our family has tech boundaries. We have rules for the devices. We even made a cell phone contract when we allowed our kids to purchase their first phones three years ago. How come it’s so hard for our teenagers to follow the guidelines we’ve set and even more difficult for us as parents to uphold them?

Parenting children on screens can be absolutely maddening. 

Thank goodness for the release of the new book Be The Parent, Please Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning SnapChat- Strategies for Solving Real Parenting Problems because I need all of the advice I can get when it comes to this subject!


When I was asked if I wanted to receive a copy of Be the Parent, Please to review- they had me at the title alone. Ban Snapchat. Where do I sign up? Be the Parent. Yes, please. I’m all over that. I know it’s my ‘job’ to lead my children well, but somehow I still feel that I’m failing them when it comes to tackling technology.

Author Naomi Schaefer Riley is an acclaimed author and mother of three. She brings her experience, research, and no-nonsense candor to the book to help families retake control over technology’s influence.

I am so grateful for the wisdom I gain from books like Riley’s and other books I’ve read on parenting kids on screens.


Riley challenges us to examine how we really want our children to interact with the world and gives us realistic tips on how to accomplish those goals. Be the Parent, Please motivates us with oh so many reasons to take back control of the screens in 2018.

The book is full of real-life relatable situations and lots of research to get us thinking about being the parent we really want to be. I love that the author talks about the benefits of technology free sleepaway summer camp. Being in nature without devices for several weeks is just one of the many reasons to consider sending your screenagers to camp.

It’s up to us to lead our children well this year and this book is a perfect start to helping us figure out how exactly we want to do that.

Leave a comment below on why you need to read this book!

One lucky winner will be selected at random to receive a hard copy of Be the Parent, Please by mail. US residents only, please!

Winner will be announced on January 23!



If witnessing your kids laying around on devices after school and on weekends is making you crazy now, how are you going to feel this summer when the time off beckons constant screen usage?

Become your child’s media mentor and make a plan to intentionally decrease screen use in your family this summer.

Read more


Parents are scrambling for advice on how to handle digital devices in their homes.

We are losing our kids to technology, but what can we as Mom and Dad do about it?

We must acquire wisdom from knowledgeable sources and implement boundaries and rules based on what we learn. When we know better, we do better.

The following four books were given to me to review and are each beneficial in the i-parenting journey. With five kids on screens, I’m open to any positive advice I can get right now on how to best handle technology in our family.


1. Disconnected- How to Reconnect Our Digitally Distracted Kids is a call to action because we (adults and children) do not have control over electronic devices and screens; they instead have control over us.

The author Thomas Kersting is a rock star parent because he has no intention of getting his 14 year old son and subsequent daughter cell phones. I’m sure what he witnesses as a public school counselor by day and private practice therapist at night helps him in that decision. Kersting consistently sees firsthand the problems that kids are facing due to technology overuse.

I love that this book is a quick, informative read with less than 100 pages and is broken into three parts- the impact of electronic devices on kids’ brains; technology’s effect on social, emotional and family growth and what parents can do- tips, techniques and solutions.

Kersting lists warning signs and how to tell when your child is spending too much time using any form of electronic media, including television, video games, handheld devices and computers/tablets. He states ways to help your children (and yourself) cut down on electronic media consumption and he also states when is the right age to get your child a smartphone. I wish I would’ve read this one line alone before handing over phones to my kids.


2. Unplug- Raising Kids in a Technology Addicted World is another self published short read by psychologists Dr. Lisa Strohman and Dr. Melissa Westendorf.

The book dives into the difference between technology addiction  and overuse as well as states guidelines that can be established around using technology. The authors’ candid approach helps parents sort through the pros and cons of technology use and helps parents better understand the effects it can have on children.

Unplug helps you determine how to better manage raising children with technology and to provide insight and practical tools for the challenges and choices our children are facing. I really enjoyed the call to action To Do lists at the end of every chapter and the idea of designing a Technology Use Log.


3. A Parent’s Guide to iPhone and iPad is a must have read for any parent of kids who own an i-device. My kids have had iPhones for nearly two years and I had no idea many of the tips and tricks that I learned in this book. I wish At&t would’ve given me this book when we purchased the kids phones.

This book reminds me of a smaller, updated version of something from the “for Dummies” series. There are easy to follow instructions and visual photos to help guide you through the process.

The Andrew duo crafted this book for the parent, not the tech wizard. Think of it like a cookbook for your device with detailed step-by-step recipes on everything you can do and control on the iPhone and iPad. The tutorials are detailed and simple to follow. Your child’s future will be increasingly connected online, and you owe it to them to understand the tools they will use and how to protect them.


4. I was part of the launch team back in 2014 for the book Growing Up Social- Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World. My kids didn’t even own cell phones at that time so it was a great book to read to help us proactively create boundaries and limits on screen time before they actually owned the devices. You can read my original review here.

Parents, don’t be afraid to be in the know and set boundaries according to your family values and beliefs. Our kids are depending on us to lead them well.

FYI- I will receive a few pennies if you purchase any of the books with the Amazon links provided in this post. 


Technology might be the most significant battlefield we face as parents when raising children today. It’s important to link arms together as we battle our children’s growing dependency on technology.

It’s irresponsible as a parent to hand over a digital device to our minor child and stick our head in the sand. Instead, we must be diligent and learn how to best protect our children from various experts working in this field.

Here are 9 Ways to Protect Your Child Online

1. Delay the smartphone purchase

Digital devices are changing childhood for children. As a mom of six, I fully understand the pressure to give elementary or middle school children a smartphone. Yet, we must realize how distracting, dangerous, and addicting smartphones are and be brave enough to say “not yet.” Only you can decide when your son or daughter is mature enough to handle smartphone ownership responsibly.

Wait Until 8th is a movement empowering parents to wait until at least 8th grade to give children cell phones.

READ: Why Our 13-Year-Olds Don’t Have Smartphones

2. Set screen time boundaries and expectations

Parents cannot afford to be their child’s pal regarding screen use and must bravely take the lead in this area instead. 

Technology gets good kids in trouble. Good kids make bad choices on their devices because it’s too easy. There’s nothing to ignore regarding kids and technology. Former Scottsdale Police Detective Tanya Corder said there should be no privacy regarding our children’s devices because our kids’ brains aren’t fully developed to always make the best choices, and we need to help guide them.

We must be diligent in the habits we create for tech use in our homes and not allow phones to go into bedrooms with our children. “As you would not leave your child in the middle of downtown Phoenix in the middle of the night, why would you allow your kids the same access to predators without your supervision?” said former Arizona Police Sergeant and the Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) Program Director Director Nate Boulter.

We have to take Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares’s words in this Town Hall to heart when he said, “Your child is much more likely to meet a predator online in their bedroom than in your neighborhood or at the mall.”

READ: 5 Ways to Set Your Family up for Screen Time Success

3. Create digital trust with a family contract

After talking with your family members about what boundaries are best for technology use in your home, create a contract stating your expectations. This way, everyone is in communication and understands the rules and consequences. So, when a mistake happens (and it will), you can use the contract as a means for calm discussion instead of your child being able to say they didn’t know or understand the rules.

“Having a contract for phones and social media use can be very beneficial,” said Sgt. Boulter. “If you are paying for the phone, you have every right to review it and take possession as needed. As long as you have created an agreement or contract with your child so they understand the boundaries and expectations.”

READ: My Smartphone Contract for Kids

4. Monitor all digital devices

Be active and protect what your kids are doing online and in apps. Know the passwords to their devices and follow them on all social media accounts to see what they are posting. “Watch to see if your kids are posting their shortcomings and failures and seeking help from anywhere else but home and family,” said Sgt. Boulter. “Predators look for children who have needs to be filled and move in to fill them.”

This is where I thought I’d be overstepping the line with giving my children privacy. I thought WebWatcher and other monitoring software were over the top until I heard Detective Corder and Dr. Lisa Strohman agree that we must protect our children (and ourselves) by installing a monitoring keylogger on all devices. With a keylogger, you will be able to set up alerts to let you know if your child types certain words, whether it be in a chat messenger, text, or browser.

READ: 6 Things You Should Do When Your Kid Has a Smartphone

5. Spot-check downloaded Apps seasonally

Don’t let kids have their own Apple ID; instead, have a family sharing one so you know what apps they are purchasing and downloading.

Beware of secretive photo and video vaults. There are calculator apps that pose as a mathematical device but are a vault to hide secretive pictures and videos. (I had no idea about this and found this on one of my kids’ phones!) Do you know about the Snapchat My Eyes Only vault? Unfortunately, Snapchat is often the social media platform of choice for kids—another thing to sit down and discuss with our kids.


6. Follow the content rating system on video games

Parents need to be brave enough to say no to allowing their child to play video games or download apps that aren’t age-appropriate.

“The greatest advice I would give to parents is to follow the content rating system on games,” said Sgt. Boulter. “I play video games, and I can’t tell you how many times I have played Call of Duty or another “Mature” rated game and heard young kids all over chat and speaker. Not including any of the game chat, the material covered in those games is inappropriate for kids.”

READ: 3 Things to Do if Your Son is Obsessed with Fortnite

7. Make it difficult to find information online about your child

  • Don’t let your son or daughter use their face for their profile picture or use their real name.
  • Make strong passwords, and don’t share them.
  • Pause before you post anything about your child online. (READ: Sharents: Why You Need to Pause Before You Post)

Sharents- Kids-Deserve-Privacy-Please

8. Know who your child is interacting with online

Think twice about allowing your son to put on headphones and play video games with others who aren’t physically in the room. Playing video games where you talk with strangers online isn’t a problem necessarily, but it becomes one when kids chat with people they’ve never met in real life and move the conversation to another platform.

“Be proactive in who is friending your kids online and who is chatting with them. Video game chats are a well-known area for predators to seek out kids because they have a prime target audience,” said Sgt. Boulter.

9. Communicate constantly

According to Sgt. Boulter, if parents aren’t teaching their kids about the things happening online, then society and predators will. “These discussions need to be age-appropriate and ongoing, not a one-and-done discussion.”

Monthly family meetings are a great time to talk about screen use and digital discussions.

For example, does your child know what to do if they receive a nude image? Former Scottsdale Police Detective Tanya Corder said they need to delete it and should not forward the image to you or anyone else, as they are then distributing child pornography. If your kid doesn’t have it on their phone, they can’t be responsible. You must then report the incident to an appropriate adult so it can be taken down and handled appropriately.

Parents must be diligent when raising kids on screens today, and we must learn from experts and those who can encourage us to lead our tech-savvy children well.

What has been the most challenging aspect of raising kids on digital devices?