Transcript: Screen Time Out | Feb 14, 2018

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and striped blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Screen time out. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says IN JANUARY, THE
CO-CREATOR OF THE IPHONE, TONY
FADELL, CALLED OUT APPLE AND
OTHER SILICON VALLEY FIRMS FOR
CREATING DEVICES THAT ARE
DESIGNED TO BE IRRESISTIBLE, AND
POTENTIALLY EVEN ADDICTIVE.
HE WENT FURTHER, CALLING ON
THOSE COMPANIES TO DO MORE TO
PROTECT KIDS FROM GETTING SUCKED
INTO THE DIGITAL VORTEX.
WITH CHILDREN OFTEN GETTING
THESE PHONES AT AGE 10 OR 11, IT
ALL RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT
WHAT'S APPROPRIATE, INCLUDING,
IS THAT TOO YOUNG FOR DEVELOPING MINDS?
ALYSON SCHAFER IS A PARENTING
EXPERT AND FAMILY THERAPIST WHO
HAS THOUGHT A LOT ABOUT THIS
ISSUE, AND SHE JOINS US NOW FOR MORE.

Alyson is in her forties, with chin-length blond hair in a bob. She's wearing a black leather jacket.

Steve continues SO GOOD TO HAVE YOU BACK HERE.

Alyson says GOOD TO BE HERE.

Steve says YOU WERE HERE FIVE YEARS AGO.

Alyson says AND THE WORLD HAS CHANGED.
TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING AT AN
UNBELIEVABLE RATE.

Steve says HAS IT EVER.
SO BASED ON YOUR EXPERIENCE, HOW
BIG AN ISSUE IS THIS SO-CALLED
ADDICTION TO SMARTPHONES THINGS ANYWAY?

The caption changes to "Alyson Schafer. Author, 'Honey, I wrecked the kids.'"
Then, it changes again to "Taming the beast."

Alyson says I DO THINK IT'S A VERY BIG
ISSUE.
WHEN I CONSIDER I SEE CLIENTS
ONCE A WEEK, I GIVE WORKSHOPS ON
A REGULAR BASIS.
THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ANY OF
THOSE EXPERIENCES WHERE
TECHNOLOGY AND KIDS' ADDICTION,
OVERUSE, HOW MUCH SCREEN TIME,
WORRIED ABOUT EXPOSURE, IT'S
COME UP VIRTUALLY EVERY SINGLE
TIME.

Steve says TIME AND TIME AGAIN.

Alyson says IT'S ON EVERY PARENT'S MIND.
EVERY PARENT.

Steve says LET'S GO THROUGH IT
DEPENDING HOW OLD YOU ARE.
I'M GOING TO GIVE YOU AN AGE
BRACKET AND YOU TELL ME...

Alyson says IT'S GOING TO HAVE TO START
YOUNGER THAN YOU THINK.

Steve says LET'S DO THAT.
ZERO TO TWO.
ZERO TO SIX MONTHS?

Alyson says THEY LITERALLY HAVE BABY
BOUNCER SEATS THAT HAVE ARMS TO
PUT YOUR iPAD ON SO THAT
INFANTS IN LITTLE BABY ROCKER
SEATS CAN WATCH iPAD.
THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED.
SO, REALLY, IF WE'RE LOOKING AT
THE EXPERTS THAT HAVE DONE THE
RESEARCH, THE AMERICAN PEDIATRIC
ASSOCIATION CHANGED THEIR
GUIDELINES.
IT USED TO BE NOTHING UNDER TWO.
EVEN THEY HAVE DROPPED IT DOWN
TO 18 MONTHS.
THEY SAY AT 18 MONTHS THE ONLY
THING THAT'S APPROPRIATE IN
SCREEN TIME IS JUST USING IT AS
A COMMUNICATION DEVICE, LIKE
FACE-TIMING WITH DAD AT WORK AND
WITH A PARENT WITH THEM.
THEY'RE STARTING GUIDELINES AS
YOUNG AS 18 MONTHS.

Steve says ISN'T THAT CRAZY?

Alyson says YEAH.

Steve says SOME PEOPLE ARE...

Alyson says LOTS OF 18-MONTH-OLDS KNOW
HOW TO USE AN iPAD ON THEIR OWN.

Steve says SERIOUSLY?

Alyson says YEAH.

Steve says LET'S GET UP TO TWO
OR FIVE OR SIX.
HOW MUCH SCREEN USE IS
APPROPRIATE AT THAT AGE?

The caption changes to "Alyson Schafer, @alysonschafer"

Alyson says WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR IS
HIGH QUALITY PROGRAMMING,
BECAUSE NOT ALL OF IT IS.
AND TO DO CO-PLAY,
CO-INTERACTION, WHICH MEANS YOU
DON'T GIVE YOUR KID THE iPAD
AND WALK AWAY.
IT'S AN ACTIVITY YOU DO
TOGETHER, ONE HOUR.

Steve says ONE HOUR A DAY, MAX.

Alyson says AND THAT WILL GO FAST.

Steve says LET'S GO TO... WHAT
ARE WE AT NOW?
9, 10, 11, 12?

Alyson says ONCE YOU'RE STARTING TO GET
INTO THAT AGE GROUP, IT'S STILL
ENTERTAINMENT.
SO I THINK AS PARENTS WE STILL
HAVE TO LOOK AT IT IN TERMS OF
THE OVERALL BALANCE OF THE
FAMILY AND LOOKING AT WHAT TYPES
OF ACTIVITIES THAT THEY ARE
DOING ONLINE.
IF IT'S STILL HIGHLY
ENTERTAINMENT, I THINK IT'S OKAY
TO KIND OF LIMIT IT AS SCREEN
TIME.
WHAT'S REASONABLE FOR YOUR
FAMILY CULTURE?
WHAT'S REASONABLE FOR THE OTHER
COMMITMENTS THAT THE CHILD HAS
WITH THEIR TIME AND HOCKEY AND
HOMEWORK AND TRYING TO MAKE A
BALANCED, WELL-ROUNDED LIFE?
I THINK YOU'RE MUCH MORE LIKELY
TO GO TO A MEDIA PLAN.
I'VE RECOMMENDED TO FAMILIES TO
HAVE A CHIT SYSTEM.
SOME KID WILL BE SO BUSY WITH
HOMEWORK AND HOCKEY, THEY NEVER
GET ONTO THEIR MINECRAFT GAME,
BUT SATURDAY MORNING, THEY WANT
TO DO FIVE HOURS NON-STOP.
THEN IT'S NOT DAILY, IT'S A
WEEKLY TOTAL.
SO CASH IN YOUR CHITS IN
HALF-HOUR INCREMENTS AND YOU CAN
BINGE MINECRAFT IF YOU WANT OR
WHATEVER.
BUT I STILL HAVE SOME SENSE OF
SETTING LIMITS AND BOUNDARIES ON
IT SO THEY DON'T GO DOWN THAT
RABBIT HOLE CONSTANTLY.

Steve says IS FIVE HOURS IN ONE
FELL SWOOP ADVISABLE?

Alyson says THEY SAY THE AVERAGE IS 8
HOURS A DAY.
WHEN WE'RE LOOKING AT SCREEN
TIME AND GETTING INTO THESE
OLDER CHILDREN IN ELEMENTARY
WHERE THEY'RE STARTING TO DO
HOMEWORK AND HAVE EMAIL
ACCOUNTS, LOOK AT WHAT THEY'RE
DOING ONLINE.
SOME OF THEM ARE CREATING THEIR
OWN WEB PAGES.
SOME ARE USING THE TOOLS TO DRAW
OR CREATE GARAGE BAND.
THEY'RE BEING CREATIVE.
SOME OF IT IS DOING GOOGLE DOC
SHARING.
SOMETIMES THEY'RE UPDATING THEIR
BANK ACCOUNT.
ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE VALID TO
DO ONLINE.
THEY USED TO BE THINGS WE DID IN
REAL LIFE BUT THEY'VE MOVED TO A
DIGITAL INTERFACE.
TIME IS NOT A GOOD MEASURE
ANYMORE.
IT'S WHAT YOU'RE DOING ONLINE.

Steve says I GET THAT.
WHAT ABOUT TWO HOURS ONLINE
LOOKING AT EVERYBODY'S RECIPES.

Alyson says THAT IS WHAT WE CALL PASSIVE
CONSUMPTION AND ENTERTAINMENT
AND WE DON'T NEED TO SPEND ALL
OF OUR TIME ON THAT.
THE TRUTH IS IT GETS REALLY HARD
TO MONITOR FOR PARENTS.
MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT JUST ON ONE
THING.
THEY HAVE THEIR iPAD, LAPTOP,
AND PHONE... I'M GUILTY OF THIS
TOO... THEY'LL HAVE MULTIPLE
THINGS GOING ON, THEY'RE
TOGGLING BACK AND FORTH.
HOW MUCH OF IS THAT WORKING ON
HOMEWORK AND HOW MUCH IS ON
INSTAGRAM?

Steve says ONCE YOU'RE SORT OF
13, 14, ALL THE WAY TO GRADE 12,
CAN A PARENT PUT LIMITS ON WHAT
THEIR KID DOES WITH SCREENS AT
THAT STAGE OF THE GAME?

The caption changes to "Alyson Schafer. Family Therapist."

Alyson says YES, THEY CAN.
BUT THE IDEAL, LIKE SO MUCH OF
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT AROUND
PARENTING ADVICE IS, YOU ARE
GOING TO BE MORE LIKELY TO GET
COOPERATION FROM YOUR CHILDREN
IF YOU WORK COLLABORATIVELY WITH
THEM TO CO-CREATE APPROPRIATE
LIMITS AND BOUNDARIES.
YOU CANNOT IMPOSE LIMITS AND
BOUNDARIES FOR KIDS AT THIS AGE.
THEY WILL CREATIVELY WORK AROUND
YOU OR YOU'RE JUST DETERIORATE
THE RELATIONSHIP AND JUST HAVE A
HUGE FIGHT.
I THINK YOU HAVE TO HAVE AN
INTELLECTUAL DIALOGUE ABOUT WHAT
YOU'RE CONCERNED ABOUT, WHAT
YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT, WHAT
YOU'RE HEARING ABOUT, AND GET
THEIR INPUT SO THAT YOU COME UP
WITH SOME REASONABLE MEDIA PLAN
BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU.
REALLY, THERE'S BUY-IN FROM BOTH
PARTIES.

Steve says THEY KNOW,
INCIDENTALLY, TOO, DON'T THEY?
HIGH SCHOOL KIDS KNOW TOO MUCH
SCREEN TIME IS BAD FOR THEM.
MY HUNCH IS THEY'RE LOOKING FOR
YOU TO PUT SOME LIMITS ON IT SO
THEY HAVE AN EXCUSE NOT TO BE ON
IT 24-7.

Alyson says I THINK TO BE ABLE TO SAY
THIS IS PART OF THE GRANDER
SELF-REGULATION SKILLS OF A LIFETIME.
SO THAT WHEN YOU ARE OFF AT
COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY, IN YOUR
ADULT LIFE, THAT YOU CAN
FUNCTION WELL WITHOUT AN ADULT
IMPOSING THOSE LIMITS.
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO MANAGE
YOURSELF.
AND TO YOUR POINT, KIDS LIKE TO
BE RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR
INTELLIGENCE, AND NOW WE KNOW.
THIS ISN'T WILLPOWER.
IT'S LIKE, OH, THEY WANT ME TO
PLAY THAT GAME BECAUSE THE
POP-UP BOX CAME AND THE NEXT
VIDEO IS LIKE... YOU'RE NOT
GOING TO DUPE ME.
THEY WANT TO BE APPRECIATED FOR
THEIR INTELLIGENCE.
IT'S DESIGNED TO SUCK YOU IN SO
WHAT CAN YOU DO, WHAT CAN WE DO
TO HELP WITH THAT?
AND, STEVE, THE TECHNOLOGY
PEOPLE HAVE SAID, TECHNOLOGY
WILL FIX WHAT TECHNOLOGY HAS
BROKEN.
SO YOU'RE SEEING MORE APPS
COMING ONTO THE MARKET THAT WILL
TRACK USAGE, SHUT DOWN USAGE AT
CERTAIN TIMES, HELP BLOCK
THINGS.
IN ORDER TO GIVE US TOOLS TO
KEEP OUR ATTENTION WHERE WE WANT
IT TO GO.
EVERYONE NOW IN TECHNOLOGY IS
AWARE, WE WANT KIDS SAFE ONLINE,
WE WANT THEM TO HAVE GOOD
DEVELOPMENT AND WE'LL SEE MORE
PRODUCTS HITTING THE SHELF...
WHAT AN OLD-FASHIONED TERM.
THE AMAZON LOCKERS.
THE APP STORE.

Steve says AT WHAT AGE IS IT
APPROPRIATE FOR A YOUNG PERSON
TO HAVE THEIR OWN, FOR EXAMPLE, iPHONE?

Alyson says I LIKE THAT YOU GAVE THE
EXAMPLE OF AN iPHONE BECAUSE,
AGAIN, TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING.
THERE'S NOW FAKE LITTLE PHONES
THAT JUST DO LIMITED
INTERACTION, AND I DON'T KNOW
ABOUT YOUR KIDS, OUR KIDS ARE
KIND OF THE SAME.
DO THEY USE THEIR PHONE FOR
PHONING?

Steve says WELL, NO.
NO ONE DOES THAT.

Alyson says YOU HAVE A PHONE AND THE LAST
THING YOU DO IS ACTUALLY MAKE A
PHONE CALL, RIGHT?
THEY'RE MULTI-PURPOSE DEVICES.
I THINK WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND
THAT.
IF WE LOOK AT THE AGE FOR
STARTING THAT, I'M FINDING IT
REALLY DEPENDS ON THE CULTURE OF
WHERE THE KIDS ARE.
WHEN I'M DOWN IN FLORIDA,
TEACHING IN FLORIDA, WHEN I ASK
THE AGE, IT'S MUCH YOUNGER THAN
OTHER PLACES IN RURAL CANADA.
IT REALLY DEPENDS WHERE YOU ARE,
THE HIGH SCHOOL CULTURE,
PARENTS' SOCIOECONOMIC LEVELS.

Steve says IF A 10-YEAR-OLD KID
COMES TO THEIR PARENT AND SAYS EVERYONE IN MY CLASS HAS AN
iPHONE, I WANT ONE TOO.
WHAT'S THE ANSWER?
AT TEN.

Alyson says RIGHT.
THE FIRST KNEE-JERK REACTION, IF
EVERYBODY JUMPED OFF A CLIFF,
WOULD YOU... I'M GOING TO BE
MORE COMPOSED AND THE FIRST
THING I'M GOING TO SAY IS, YOU
KNOW WHAT?
I WANT YOU TO GET A PHONE TOO.
I WANT TO SHOW ALLIANCE, NOT AN
OBJECTOR.
I DON'T WANT TO BLOCK THEM.
LET'S WORK ON GETTING YOU AN
iPHONE.
I CAN TELL THAT'S REALLY
IMPORTANT FOR YOU.
HERE'S ALL THE THINGS WE NEED TO
ACCOMPLISH BEFORE WE GET THAT
iPHONE TO YOU.
ONE IS WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE YOU
HAVE A GOOD SENSE OF
RESPONSIBILITY.
LET'S START WITH SAYING, COULD
WE GO A MONTH WITHOUT LEAVING
OUR BOOTS AT SCHOOL OR BRINGING
HOME OUR LUNCH BOX?

Steve says THIS IS WHY YOU ARE
THE EXPERT.
THAT IS BRILLIANT MANIPULATION.
THAT IS REALLY GOOD.

Alyson says I'M ALL ABOUT WORKING TOWARDS
THIS BUT THERE'S SOME CRITERIA,
INCLUDING MONEY.
I CAN SAY I'M WILLING TO PAY FOR
HALF BUT WHERE WILL THE OTHER
MONEY COME FROM?
GIVEN YOU HAVE AN ALLOWANCE, YOU
MIGHT HAVE TO PICK UP
BABYSITTING.
THERE'S ANOTHER TWO YEARS.
YOU'RE NOT TRYING TO
ARTIFICIALLY THROW UP BLOCKADES
SO THEY FEEL YOU'RE MANIPULATING
THE SITUATION.
YOU WANT TO SAY THERE IS
CRITERIA AND I DO WANT TO HELP
YOU, BUT RIGHT NOW, I HAVEN'T
SEEN YOU LOOK TWO WAYS TO CROSS
A STREET.
IF I GET YOU A DEVICE THAT
DISTRACTS, YOU I'M REALLY
WORRIED ABOUT YOUR SAFETY.
LET ME SEE WE HAVE THESE OTHER
CAPACITIES FOR RESPONSIBILITY
AND ATTENTION LOOKED AFTER, AND
FROM A MERITORIOUS POINT OF
VIEW, THEN WE'LL MOVE YOU UP TO
THE PHONE.

Steve says HOW ABOUT A DATA PLAN?

Alyson says I STARTED MY KIDS ON A SMALL DATA PLAN.
I SAID WHAT I WAS WILLING TO PAY
AND ANY OVERAGES WOULD GO TO
THEM.
WE LOOKED AT ALL THE PACKAGES
TOGETHER.
IT WAS AN EDUCATIONAL THING.
MY DAUGHTER WAS TEXTING AFTER
6:00 AND I SAID YOU KNOW IT
DOESN'T COVER AFTER 6:00?
SURE ENOUGH THE FIRST BILL CAME
AND IT WAS $200.
INSTEAD OF SAYING YOU DIDN'T
UNDERSTAND, I'LL COVER IT, NO.
IT TOOK HER MONTHS AND MONTHS
AND MONTHS.
STEVE, WHEN SHE PAID THAT LAST
PAYMENT, SHE SAID, "MOM, I'VE
NEVER FELT SO PROUD OF ANYTHING
IN MY LIFE."
WE HAVE TO START BY REALIZING
THEY ARE GOING TO MAKE MISTAKES
AND THEY ARE GOING TO DROP THE
PHONE IN THE TOILET.
IF WE SAY, I'M SO SORRY AND YOU
LOVED THAT PHONE AND I WAS ONLY
WILLING TO BUY THE FIRST ONE.
THESE ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO TEACH
KIDS ABOUT RESPONSIBILITY AND
THEY'RE PAINFUL LESSONS BUT
THEY'RE ABSOLUTELY GREAT LESSONS TOO.

Steve says HOW MANY KIDS IN
YOUR EXPERIENCE ARE ADDICTED TO
THEIR DEVICES BECAUSE THEIR
PARENTS ARE ADDICTED TO THEIR DEVICES?

Alyson says WELL, THERE'S ABSOLUTELY
MODELLING THAT GOES ON AND IF
PARENTS ARE BUSY AND DISTRACTED
AND NOT ENGAGING WITH THEIR
KIDS, WHAT ELSE IS A KID GOING
TO DO IF THERE'S ACCESS TO
TECHNOLOGY THERE?
IT'S ABSOLUTELY GOING TO BE
ENTERTAINING.
NOW WE SEE A FAMILY IN FOUR
DIFFERENT ROOMS AND EVERYBODY IS
ON THEIR TECHNOLOGY.
I THINK THAT'S ACTUALLY VERY
COMMON AND SAD, FRANKLY, BUT
IT'S BECOMING MORE AND MORE THE
NORM, I WOULD SAY.
IF WE'RE THROWING "ADDICTION."
AROUND LOOSELY.
OVERUSAGE, WE COULD SAY, YEAH,
YEAH.

Steve says OKAY.
KIDS... I DON'T WANT TO
OVERGENERALIZE, BUT I WILL.
KIDS TODAY, IT FEELS LIKE,
DEFINE POPULARITY BY HOW MANY
LIKES THEY GET ON THEIR FACEBOOK
PAGE AND THEIR INSTAGRAM PAGE
AND THAT KIND OF THING AS
OPPOSED TO HOW MANY ACTUALLY
GOOD CONSTRUCTIVE REAL
FRIENDSHIPS AND RELATIONSHIPS
THEY HAVE IN THEIR LIVES.

Alyson says MM-HMM.

Steve says SHOULD WE OLDER
FOLKS BE TRYING TO CONVINCE THEM
THAT THOSE METRICS ARE
BACKWARDS?

The caption changes to "Antisocial media."

Alyson says YES.
I GAVE AN ENTIRE TALK YESTERDAY
ABOUT THE IDEA OF BEING SOCIAL
MEDIA... THERE'S SOMETHING
CALLED THE DUNBAR NUMBERS.
AS HUMAN BEINGS WE ONLY HAVE A
MENTAL CAPACITY TO HAVE 150
CONNECTIONS IN OUR WORLD, BUT
THEY'RE NOT ALL THE SAME.
IN THE INNER MOST CIRCLE OF TRUE
FRIENDS, MOST OF US HAVE THREE
TO FIVE OF THEM.
THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE
GOING TO SIT AND HOLD YOUR HAND
WHEN YOU HAVE CHEMO TREATMENTS
OR WHERE YOUR PARENTS SEPARATE.
THOSE ARE YOUR FRIENDS.
YOU CAN ONLY MAINTAIN THOSE
FRIENDS IN REAL LIFE.
THAT'S NOT TO SAY YOU CAN'T CHAT
WITH THEM VIRTUALLY.
THE RATIO OF PEOPLE FOLLOWING ME
VERSUS FOLLOWERS, NOW I HAVE TO
TAKE IT DOWN AND POST IT AGAIN
IN AN HOUR WHEN I GET A BETTER
RESPONSE, THAT STUFF IS ALL THE
BUSYNESS THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO
WITH THE QUALITY OF FRIENDSHIPS
THAT ARE PART OF YOUR MENTAL
HEALTH MAKEUP AND TRUE HAPPINESS.

Steve says HOW DO YOU CONVINCE
A 14-YEAR-OLD THAT THE FIRST
KIND OF FRIEND THAT YOU
DESCRIBED IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT
THAN THE LAST KIND OF FRIEND
THAT YOU DESCRIBED?

Alyson says I THINK WE HAVE TO CHANGE THE DIALOGUE ABOUT WHAT WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT WHEN WE TALK TO
KIDS ABOUT TECHNOLOGY, KIND OF
LIKE WE'VE REALIZED WE NEED TO
CHANGE THE TOPIC WHEN WE TEACH
SEX EDUCATION.
IT'S ALL ABOUT DON'T GET
DISEASES, DON'T GET PREGNANT,
AND HERE ARE THE MECHANICS AND
NAMES OF YOUR BODY PARTS.
THAT'S LIKE CYBER SAFETY, I HAVE
TO TRACK YOUR FRIENDS.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT TRUE
FRIENDSHIP.
MOST OF THE KIDS WILL TELL YOU
THE REASONS THEY'RE ON THEIR
PHONE, THEY WANT TO BE FAMOUS
AND THEY WANT TO BE RICH.
THEY WANT TO DESIGN AN APP AND
BEING A MILLIONAIRE.
THEY DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL
BECAUSE I'M GOING TO DESIGN AN
APP AND SHOW PEOPLE HOW I PUT ON
COSMETICS AND GET A CONTRACT
FROM L'OREAL AND THAT'S WHAT
I'LL DO.
I DON'T NEED TO LEARN FRENCH.
IN A GROWING SECULAR SOCIETY
WHERE WE'RE NO LONGER GETTING
BASIC MESSAGES, IT'S NOT BEING
COVERED OFF IN SCHOOL OR BY
PARENTS, NO ONE IS GOING TO
CHURCH.
WE REALLY HAVE TO OPEN UP THE
CONVERSATION ABOUT SOME OF THESE
BASIC PHILOSOPHICAL
CONVERSATIONS ABOUT TRUE
HAPPINESS, TRUE FRIENDSHIP,
WHAT'S A MEANINGFUL LIFE, WHAT
IS YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE PLANET?
AND PARENTS HAVE TO TAKE THAT ON.

Steve says WHAT'S A GOOD AGE TO
START THAT CONVERSATION AT?

Alyson says I THINK YOU CAN START THAT
FROM THE TIME YOU'RE TWO YEARS
OLD AND YOU SAY CAN YOU KEEP THE
DOOR OPEN SO IT DOESN'T CLOSE IN
GRANDMA'S FACE AND CAN YOU PASS
AROUND THE PLATE OF COOKIES.
THE IDEA OF CONTRIBUTION AND
GETTING OUT OF THE EGOCENTRIC
WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME MENTALITY.
WE CALL IT DEVELOPING SOCIAL
INTEREST, CARE AND CONCERN FOR
OTHERS AND MAKING A POSITIVE
CONTRIBUTION.
I THINK IT CAN START VERY EARLY ON.
OBVIOUSLY IT CHANGES AT 14.

Steve says LET'S PICK UP AT 14.
IF YOU HAVEN'T DEVELOPED THE
SKILLS BY 14, IS IT TOO LATE?

Alyson says IT'S NEVER TOO LATE.
OTHERWISE, I WOULD HAVE A SIGN
ON MY COUNSELLING DOOR...
NO, THE WONDERFUL THING ABOUT
HUMAN BEINGS IS THAT WE ALWAYS
HAVE THE CAPACITY TO CHANGE.
THERE'S ALWAYS AN OPPORTUNITY TO
DO DIFFERENTLY, DO OTHERWISE.
IT'S NEVER, EVER, EVER TOO LATE.

Steve says OKAY.
LET'S GO BACK TO SMARTPHONES
HERE AND FIGURE OUT, ONCE YOU'VE
MADE THE DECISION, YOU'VE GONE
THROUGH THE NEGOTIATION, THE
CHILD HAS FIGURED OUT HOW MUCH
HE OR SHE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR
PAYING FOR, ALL OF THAT
NEGOTIATION THAT YOU TALKED
ABOUT EARLIER.
GIVE US SOME HANDY-DANDY TIPS ON
HOW YOU MAKE SURE THAT THE KID
DOES NOT GET ADDICTED TO THAT DEVICE?

The caption changes to "Safety first."

Alyson says I THINK WE START BY TALKING
TO THE CHILD ABOUT THEIR
RESPONSIBILITY FOR SMART USAGE
AND MY RESPONSIBILITY AS A
PARENT TO MAKE SURE THAT I
INSTIL SUPERVISING THEM.
ONE MIGHT BE AN ARRANGEMENT
ABOUT HOW OFTEN I'M CHECKING
YOUR PHONE, WHERE YOUR PHONE
NEEDS TO GO... WHERE ARE THE
ZERO PHONE HOURS?
AT THE DINNER LABEL.
OR CAR RIDES UNDER AN HOUR.
NOT IN YOUR BEDROOM AFTER A
CERTAIN TIME BECAUSE THEY NEED
TO BE DOCKED AND RECHARGED.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram."

Steve says WHAT IF YOU CATCH
THEM LOOKING AT THEIR SMARTPHONE
AT 10:00 AFTER THEY HAD GONE TO
BED WHEN THE RULES ARE YOU'RE
NOT SUPPOSED TO DO IT.
WHAT DO YOU DO?

Alyson says I WOULD SAY, HEY, WE'VE MADE AN AGREEMENT.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT WHEN THE
AGREEMENT IS BROKEN AND WHY IT'S
IMPORTANT TO HAVE A TRUSTWORTHY
RELATIONSHIP SO I DON'T NEED TO
WORRY ABOUT THESE THINGS.
I WOULD PROBABLY PUT THE ONUS ON
THE CHILD TO THINK WHAT DO YOU
THINK SHOULD HAPPEN NOW?

Steve says DO YOU TAKE THE PHONE AWAY?

Alyson says I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THAT
CONVERSATION UP FRONT.
SO WHEN I'M MAKING THE RULES,
IT'S ALWAYS GOOD WE CALL IT A
FAIL-SAFE, IF WE SAY WHAT SHOULD
HAPPEN IF THIS RULE IS BROKEN,
WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN IF THIS RULE
IS BROKEN?
IT'S BETTER IF YOU HAVE IT
UPFRONT.
I MIGHT TAKE IT AWAY UNTIL WE
MAKE ANOTHER ARRANGEMENT.
AS I SAID, THERE ARE DEVICES
THAT YOU CAN IMPLEMENT THAT WILL
CONNECT ALL YOUR DEVICES IN THE
HOUSE AND YOU CAN SAY, THERE
WILL BE NO SERVICE TO THAT PHONE
AFTER 9:00 AT NIGHT AND THEN
THERE'S A MASTER CONTROL THAT
SHUTS IT DOWN.

Steve says AND YOU CAN...

Alyson says BLOCK CHANNELS.

Steve says YOU CAN STICK WITH
THESE RULES?
IT REALLY IS INCUMBENT ON THE
PARENTS TO STICK TO THEIR GUNS
ON THIS, RIGHT?

Alyson says AS I SAY, SO MUCH OF THIS
RELIES ON YOU HAVING A GOOD
RELATIONSHIP.
IT'S THE SAME THING.
YOU SAY YOU CAN'T HAVE SNACKS
BEFORE DINNER AND THE KID SNEAKS
A SNACK AND YOU PUT A LOCK ON
THE CUPBOARD AND THE KID GETS A
SCREWDRIVER AND TAKES THE LOCK
OFF.
YOU DON'T WANT THAT TO BE THE
SITUATION.
YOU WANT TO HAVE THAT GOOD
HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP THAT SAYS,
I AM NOT TRYING TO RUIN YOUR
FUN.
I HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO KEEP
YOU SAFE.
WE CAN GO ONLINE TO SOMETHING
LIKE COMMON SENSE MEDIA.ORG AND
LOOK AT WHAT THEY SAY WE SHOULD
DO.
LET'S RESEARCH AND LOOK AT THIS
TOGETHER.
THIS REPUTABLE ORGANIZATION
THAT'S AN UNINTERESTED THIRD
PARTY SAYS THIS IS WHAT I NEED
TO DO.
SO I THINK COMING DOWN LIKE A
DICTATORIAL AUTHORITARIAN THAT'S
GOING TO PUNISH THEIR KIDS IS
MORE LIKELY TO GET KIDS MORE
CREATIVE ABOUT HOW TO SNEAK
THEIR TECHNOLOGY AROUND YOU.

Steve says THAT'S A GREAT
POINT.
I'LL PLAY DEVIL'S ADVOCATE HERE.

Alyson says THAT'S A GREAT POINT BUT...

Steve says HOWEVER, COMMA, MOST
PARENTS I KNOW BY THE TIME THEY
GET TO THE END OF THE WORKING
DAY AND THEY COME AND HAVE TO
DEAL WITH DINNER AND HOMEWORK,
THERE IS NOT ENOUGH BANDWIDTH
YET TO DEAL WITH YET ANOTHER
TEENAGE ISSUE LIKE THE
SMARTPHONE, WHICH... AND THESE
KIDS LOVE THEIR SMARTPHONES MORE
THAN THEY LOVE THEIR SIBLINGS IN
MANY CASES.
HOW DOES IT... HOW DOES A PARENT
DEAL WITH ALL THAT?

Alyson says WELL, I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT
AGAIN, COMING DOWN TO EDUCATION,
THAT ONE OF THE THINGS, BESIDES
THE DRAWS OF THE BINGES AND
LIKES AND DOPAMINE RECEPTORS,
PEOPLE GO ONLINE LARGELY BECAUSE
THEY WANT TO BE SOCIAL.
IT'S KIND OF LIKE HAVING CANDY
INSTEAD OF NUTRITION.
IT GIVES YOU A SHORT LITTLE
FEELING OF SATISFACTION OF BEING
SOCIALLY CONNECTED BUT IN THE
END IT ISOLATES YOU.
NOW YOU'RE FEELING MORE
ISOLATED.
BECAUSE YOU'RE ISOLATED YOU WANT
TO GO BACK MORE ONLINE.
IT IS LONELINESS THAT'S DRIVING
US THERE.
WHAT WE HAVE DISCOVERED IN THAT
DUNBAR NUMBER, MORE THAN HALF OF
NORTH AMERICANS ARE REPORTING ZERO.

Steve says ZERO REAL FRIENDS
BUT 5,000 ON FACEBOOK.

Alyson says RIGHT, RIGHT.
I WOULD SAY IN THAT CASE THEN,
WHAT WE NEED TO BE DOING IS
MAKING OUR HOME LIFE RICH.
COMPETE WITH THAT STUFF.
PUT A LIMIT ON IT BUT DON'T SAY
NOTHING.
COME AND SIT WITH ME AND PLAY
CHESS OR LISTEN TO HARRY POTTER.
THEY MIGHT MOAN, THEY MIGHT MOAN
IN THE BEGINNING, BUT THE NEXT
THING YOU GO, THAT WAS AN
AMAZING GAME OF BACKGAMMON WITH
MY DAD.
IF WE KEEP THINKING THERE'S
GOING TO BE THIS HOLE, KIDS ARE
GOING TO FILL IT WITH SOCIAL
MEDIA.
IF YOU PUT A LIMIT ON THE SOCIAL
MEDIA, PUT A LIMIT ON THE
SMARTPHONE, AND YOU PUSH GOOD,
FUN, ENTERTAINING FAMILY TIME
AND YOU SHOW UP AND PUT YOUR
PHONE AWAY AND STOP CHECKING
EMAILS, YOU'RE GOING TO FIND
PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DO THIS
SELF-REFLECTION AFTER AND SAY,
THIS WAS A BETTER NIGHT.
THIS WAS A BETTER NIGHT.
SO IN THERAPY, I JUST TELL
PEOPLE, EXPERIMENT WITH IT.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BUY IT WHOLE
HOG, GIVE UP ALL TECHNOLOGY.
WHY NOT TRY A ONE-HOUR TECH-FREE
EVENING OF CARDS AND ASK YOUR
KIDS, DID YOU LIKE THIS?
WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO MORE OF THIS?
YEAH.
WE'RE GETTING INTO BAD HABITS.

Steve says I NEED YOU ON SPEED DIAL.

Alyson says GET A LITTLE HEADSET HERE.

Steve says THAT WAS VERY COOL.

Alyson says PUT DOWN THE PHONE, STEVE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Meredith Martin, @MeredithMartin."

Steve says ALYSON, NOT ONLY DO
YOU KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO
KNOW ABOUT THIS STUFF, AND I'M
NOT EXAGGERATING, BUT YOU HAVE
THE BEST TITLE.
"HONEY, I WRECKED THE KIDS."
I LOVE THAT TITLE.
THANK YOU
THANKS FOR COMING IN TO TVO
THANK YOU ,MY PLEASURE
THANKS SO MUCH.

Watch: Screen Time Out