Ep 20. Catherine Steiner-Adair: Family Relationships in the Digital Age
“There are times to use technology, and there are times not to. It’s about being a little more thoughtful.”
-- Catherine Steiner-Adair
Catherine Steiner-Adair wants to ameliorate the negative effects of social media and technology on family life. She is a clinical psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age, which examines the ways technology and media change how children learn and grow. Catherine educates parents about how to balance the benefits of technology while reducing the risks they pose. She has identified numerous ways to help parents navigate the digital age with their children.
Stew and Catherine talk about the impact of technology on kids and the boundaries between work and family life. Catherine has seen in her research and counseling that parents are ignoring their children and focusing instead on their smartphones and that children have diminishing levels of self-regulation and capacity for deep play. She talks about what parents can do to to enjoy the benefits while reducing the negative impact of digital devices. Listen and learn some things about how to live in harmony with technology.
Show Notes (times when new topics start)
2:58 Catherine’s history with technology addiction. Her research began in her own home with her son’s addiction to gaming. She was inspired to conduct a global survey and found surprisingly similar trends among kids across age groups.
9:38 Creating technology-free time. Kids need parental attention, and technology can get in the way of this.
13:28 The consequences of technology on kids. Unchecked technology usage causes kids to be less likely to develop normal capacity for focus, attention, and deep thinking.
17:15 Technology’s place in the home. Catherine provides a set of questions for parents to consider when evaluating technology’s place in the home. Parents should set the example for technology usage for kids. She suggests actions you can take to create better relationships between your family and the digital world.
Check out the Trailer for Web Junky, a documentary about internet addiction that Catherine mentioned in the podcast.