National Edition

How technology can erode a family's foundation

Published: Friday, Aug. 16 2013 9:55 p.m. MDT

In an interview with Time, Steiner-Adair said in her research kids call their parents "hypocrites" for using screens so often while restricting their children's use.

Northwestern University researcher Vicky Rideout reported in June that the vast majority of American adults are logging nearly five hours per day or more — even much, much more.

Rideout found that children mirror their parents. She split 2,300 parents with young children into three groups — media-centric, media-moderate and media-light. She could have labeled the first category "media-drenched," because this group, representing about 40 percent of the parents, averaged 11 hours a day of screen time between computers, phones, tablets, games and movies. Their children averaged nearly five hours of screen time daily.

The moderate parents, 45 percent, averaged nearly five hours per day while their children averaged nearly three. The last 16 percent of parents averaged less than two hours of screen time a day; their children averaged nearly the same amount.

Steiner-Adair said the catalyst for writing “The Big Disconnect” came from her work traveling the country as a school consultant, something she’s done for the past 25 years.

“I look at cultural values and norms that undermine children’s healthy development and I look at how to strengthen parent-child relationships,” she said. “I look at curriculum and how schools design programs to give to give children the social and emotional tools as well as the academic tools to stay healthy in today’s world.”

Email: jaskar@desnews.com

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