Screen-Smart Parenting – A Summary

Screen-Smart Parenting: How to Find Balance and Benefit in Your Child’s Use of Social Media, Apps, and Digital Devices by Jodi Gold, MD

In a world where children are growing up using technology and multiple screens, Dr. Gold offers sage advice for parents as they consider how they use technology and what kind of values they want to intentionally model for their family. First, she asks parents to look at their parenting style (Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, or Laissez-faire) and how they currently use technology (where, when, how often, starting at what age, etc.). She encourages tracking how often, how much, and what devices the members of the family are using. Then consider your family values (face-to-face connection over meals, talking to each other in the car, etc.) This will help parents move forward with balance and boundaries for digital technology in their family.

Dr. Gold discusses how technology affects children’s development. Have they become more sedentary due to time spent on digital devices? Has it changed their relationships with friends/peers who they may interact with more online than in person? How has screen time affected their ability to focus, sleep, and think cognitively? What are the positives of digital technology for school-age children or teens?

In the tweens and teens chapters, Gold also delves into cyber-bullying, kids accessing pornography, identity and self-expression, texting, social media, academics, and technology’s impact on relationships between adolescents.

Dr. Gold gives specific advice for parents with kids who have ADHD, anxiety, depression, poor social skills, or who may be suicidal. Digital technology agreement samples are also available as a guide for parents to use with their kids starting in Grade 2 through secondary school. She encourages parents to get on the same page with their kids about using digital devices with clear consequences and follow-through that reflect the family’s overall values and priorities. 

Resources from the book: Reproducible Materials: Screen-Smart Parenting: How to Find Balance and Benefit in Your Child’s Use of Social Media, Apps,