Teen cellphone addiction is one of the most common concerns we hear from parents, it is not only about what teens are facing behind their screens, but it is about what parents are missing.
A new book delves into this issue — What are teens actually doing on their smartphones? Contrary to many adults’ assumptions, they are not simply “addicted” to their screens, oblivious to the afterlife of what they post, or missing out on personal connection. They are just trying to navigate a networked world.
In Behind Their Screens, Emily Weinstein and Carrie James, Harvard researchers who are experts on teens and technology, explore the complexities that teens face in their digital lives, and suggest that many adult efforts to help—“Get off your phone!” “Just don’t sext!”—fall short.
It’s not only parents that are concerned about their child’s obsession with technology — teens worry about dependence on their devices, but disconnecting means being out of the loop socially, with absence perceived as rudeness or even a failure to be there for a struggling friend.
Drawing on a multiyear project that surveyed more than 3,500 teens, the authors explain that young people need empathy, not exasperated eye-rolling. Adults should understand the complicated nature of teens’ online life rather than issue commands, and they should normalize—let teens know that their challenges are shared by others—without minimizing or dismissing.
Along the way, Weinstein and James describe different kinds of sexting and explain such phenomena as watermarking nudes, comparison quicksand, digital pacifiers, and collecting receipts. Behind Their Screens offers essential reading for any parent or adult who cares about supporting teens in an online world.
Behind Their Screens offers a readers guide that gives parents an opportunity to better understand how young people navigate their digital worlds and how we can be part of helping them balance safety and empathy online.
Order Behind Their Screens on Amazon today.
Is your teen struggling with teen internet addiction and it is interrupting their life? Are you searching for help for troubled teens with cellphone addiction? Contact us for a free consultation.