Balancing technology and family


CHARLES CITY, Iowa – It’s a problem you could say.

“It’s hard to get them off of it sometimes. They’re always texting or snap chatting their friends,” said Mike Cotton.

Mike cotton and his wife from Charles City are at St. John’s Lutheran Church for the media literacy and the family event to find out how to un-glue their three kids from the screen.

“Well we try to limit it how much time they’re on there, with three of them, we kind of divide it up that’s the best we can do,” said Cotton.

At this workshop, kids were put in one room and parents in another, where both heard from those who know all too well the power of balancing media and family time.

ISU Associate Professor of Psychology, Douglas Gentile, loves coming to events like these just to open the eyes of people going through this problem.

“When you actually show parents the research on how the media influences their kids their jaws all drop and I know that half of them go home and they do something different in a way that improves the outcomes for their kids and that’s a very powerful motivation,” said Gentile.

The biggest issue he sees is that most parents are concerned about the content causing behavior problems.

And, the amount of time their kids are spending on electronics may lead to bad grades.

But Gentile says all you need to do is just get a grasp on both issues.

“And when parents take control of both of those they set limits on the amount of time their kids are in front of screens and set limits on content then those kids are getting better grades in school, more friends, getting along better,” said Gentile.

But if you ask Cotton, he thinks this all would be easier if we could just go back in time.

“Used to have the old rotary phone, wish we could go back to that someday.”

The kids learned a lot about how the advertisements they’re exposed to can really influence their life the more they’re exposing themselves to media.

One fact they found out is that most advertisement agencies would like to “own” you per say by age nine.

According to Gentile, teens spend more time engaged in social media then they spend in a classroom in an average week.

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