BOISE, Idaho — 6 On Your Side is dedicated to helping people find better mental health through our Finding Hope series, and the internet can be especially harmful to kids. It can be an addiction that causes bad grades, anxiety, and depression. A new movie that had a special showing in Meridian is opening parent's eyes to the problems and some surprising solutions.
The average teen spends 6.5 hours a day in front of a screen. Studies, including one from San Diego State University, show the impact of all that screen time can have serious effects. However, that does not mean parents should panic and get controlling.
"The first thing I say to do is stop and often validate the positive things," said Delaney Ruston, filmmaker, screenagersmovie.com. "The fun they're having and the information access the learning tools. And that decreases the fighting."
Ruston created the Screenagers movie out of concern for her teens, and she says the key to setting rules is to talk through your family values.
"Us parents need to talk about our values, what we value like people to people time and relationships, and that we value our kids having experiences outside of the home," said Ruston.
Whatever those values are, talking about them is critical, so everyone knows where the rules governing time on the internet came from. Parents should also make sure they don't hand down internet rules in the heat of the moment.
Ruston says it is okay to turn off the wi-fi for a break from the internet each day, but that does not mean kids can't watch previously downloaded videos or play video games.
If you are looking for a way to discuss tech issues with your family, there is a free podcast every Tuesday you can sign up for. Tech Talk Tuesday is designed to start a conversation with kids.
You can sign up and find lots of other helpful information here.