Is learning to use a smartphone like learning to ride a bike?

screentime rulesAfter a few recent warm days, we optimistically went out and bought our son a bigger bike. They guy at the store says he’ll “grow into it.” It is so big that I can ride it. After all, he’s only about two inches shorter than his mom as a just-turned-twelve year old.

He’s still getting used to the bike. The wobbly start feels like a metaphor for challenges of re-entry as we start to cautiously socialize outdoors after a cold and isolating winter. For kids thrust back into the daily thrum of school, it can be a little overwhelming. Remember, everyone else is a little rusty, too.

The bigger bike our son is adjusting to also feels like a metaphor for smartphones: powerful machines that we give to kids, often at about that age. Their first efforts may be wobbly. They will need mentoring and possibly some training wheels to get good at using these sophisticated communication devices.

Luckily, if you are reading this, you have lots of great resources for mentoring tweens through that transition and many others as they grow up in the digital world.

Resources for you

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. My days are full with supervising zoom school, taking walks and writing my new book and my evenings are spent zooming into different communities to talk about pandemic screen time, games, kid’s friendship and finding a balance.

Some communities are back to school in-person, others are hybrid, and others (like us) are still doing remote learning. I’ve zoomed into Boston, Indiana, Brooklyn, and Seattle and families are grappling with transition and new decisions everywhere. The Q and A period of every talk has been filled with great questions from families.

Here are some resources that respond to these inquiries and to recent events:

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