Balancing social media in children's lives

Madeline Levine, PhD Psychologist & Author, shares advice for parents on how to balance their kid's time spent on social media and their time doing work and away from screens
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Balancing social media in children's lives

Many parents are really concerned about social media and the games that their kids play, video games, and time on television as well. Look, social media is here to stay. And your kids will be on Facebook. Facebook is kind of, I don't know, the corner store that we used to hang out at or the empty lot or the community center. In spite of the fact that is has become part of our children's lives, our job really isn't to stop it unless it's a dangerous or damaging or first-shooter game, but it's to moderate exposure to it. And what that means is that playing Angry Birds for an hour is fine, playing Angry Birds for seven hours is not fine. And the reason it's not fine is because it pushes out the developmental tasks that kids have like making friends, like learning how to negotiate challenge, like solving problems, like collaborating with other people. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television, actually, for children under two. Young children they say up to an hour. And for teens and preteens, two hours of social media, all kinds of screen time is pretty much what you can expect that has shown no negative effects.

Madeline Levine, PhD Psychologist & Author, shares advice for parents on how to balance their kid's time spent on social media and their time doing work and away from screens


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Madeline Levine, PhD

Psychologist & Author

Madeline Levine, PhD, is a psychologist with close to 30 years of experience as a clinician, consultant and educator. Her New York Times bestseller, The Price of Privilege, explores the reasons why teenagers from affluent families are experiencing epidemic rates of emotional problems.  Her book, Teach Your Children Well, outlines how our current narrow definition of success unnecessarily stresses academically talented kids and marginalizes many more whose talents and interests are less amenable to measurement. The development of skills needed to be successful in the 21st century- creativity, collaboration, innovation – are not easily developed in our competitive, fast-paced, high pressure world. Teach Your Children Well gives practical, research- based solutions to help parents return their families to healthier and saner versions of themselves.

Dr. Levine is also a co-founder of Challenge Success, a project born at the Stanford School of Education. Challenge Success believes that our increasingly competitive world has led to tremendous anxiety about our children’s’ futures and has resulted in a high pressure, myopic focus on grades, test scores and performance. This kind of pressure and narrow focus isn’t helping our kids become the resilient, capable, meaningful contributors we need in the 21st century. So every day, Challenge Success provides families and schools with the practical research-based tools they need to raise healthy, motivated kids, capable of reaching their full potential. We know that success is measured over the course of a lifetime, not at the end of the grading period.

Dr. Levine began her career as an elementary and junior high school teacher in the South Bronx of New York before moving to California and earning her degrees in psychology. She has had a large clinical practice with an emphasis on child and adolescent problems and parenting issues. Currently however, she spends most of her time crisscrossing the country speaking to parents, educators, students, and business leaders. Dr. Levine has taught Child Development classes to graduate students at the University of California Medical Center/ San Francisco. For many years, Dr. Levine has been a consultant to various schools, from preschool through High School, public as well as private, throughout the country. She has been featured on television programs from the Early Show to the Lehrer report, on NPR stations such as Diane Rheems in Washington and positively reviewed in publications from Scientific American to the Washington Post. She is sought out both nationally and internationally as an expert and keynote speaker. 

Dr. Levine and her husband of 35 years, Lee Schwartz, MD are the incredibly proud (and slightly relieved) parents of three newly minted and thriving sons.

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