PORTLAND -- If you are among the many parents who feel disconnected from their teenaged kids, a local pediatrician says it might be because they’re too connected to their phones and video games.
“The latest research shows teens are getting up to 11 hours of screen time a day when you add in looking at multiple screens at the same time,” said Dr Kathy Masarie.
She’s joined five other experts to write a manual about how to connect with kids.
“We titled our book 'Face to Face.' There are things you get face to face that you can’t get from a screen.”
As a mother of two, Masarie said she knows how quickly a parent and child can become disconnected,
“I thought I was connected to my son and he started skipping school and we weren’t connected at all,” she said.
Setting limits on screen time, she adds, can be the beginning of reconnecting.
“No screens at dinner and none after 9 at night. I like the idea of charging all phones in the parents’ bedroom after a certain time in the evening.”
She recommends getting outdoors as another way to reconnect. “Go for a hike and turn the phones off.” Removing some screen time did help Masarie eventually reconnect with her son.
“We went to dinner, we hit golf balls and played basketball. Those are the activities where we had a connection” she said.
Dr Masarie is teaming up with Randall Children’s Hospital to help parents reconnect with their teens. She’s giving a free talk at the Kennedy School on January 28th.
“I always remind parents to stay curious about how their teen views the world. It can be the first crucial step in staying connected,” she concluded.
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