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Connecting With Your Smartphone-Obsessed Children


Jonathan McKee, the founder of TheSource4Parents.com, shares some troubling statistics about teenagers and screen time in the following video.

Citing Common Sense Media for his information, McKee says today’s 13-18 year-olds spend 9 hours a day consuming entertainment media. Meaning the amount of time your average American teenager spends on Netflix, YouTube, Minecraft, and various social media sites adds up to being more than the average person spends on a full-time job.

The way they consume all this media is through smartphones, which have become so ubiquitous that:

75% of teenagers own a smartphone
25% of 8-12 own a smartphone

However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents don’t give their kids a smartphone until they’re 13.

So we have a huge responsibility to take screens out of the hands of our children, right? Particularly our tweens. However, McKee explains there is another layer to our problem of over-connected children we have to address before we can find a solution.

Consider the following statistic about American adults:

U.S. adults spend 2.9-4.7 hours a day on a smartphone. This time doesn’t even include the hours we spend watching television. McKee states adults spend more time than children watching television. The only demographic that spends more time than parents watching television is grandparents.

At the end of the video, McKee redirects the question everyone is probably thinking at this point from “How can I get my kid off his/her smartphone?” to “How can over-connected adults connect with over-connected kids?” This is the better question.

McKee encourages parents to utilize those moments—driving in the car or getting ready for bed—when kids tend to naturally open up. Is there a good time you can seize the moment to talk to your child instead of caving to the temptation to zone out? And if you do this, how might this example impact your over-connected child?

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Megan Briggs is a writer and editor for churchleaders.com. Her experience in ministry, an extensive amount of which was garnered overseas, gives her a unique perspective on the global church. She has the longsuffering and altruistic nature of foreign friends and missionaries to humbly thank for this experience. Megan is passionate about seeking and proclaiming the truth. When she’s not writing, Megan likes to explore God’s magnificent creation.