Since scare tactics do not seem to work would you like to know how to let kids manage their own screen time?

The reason the scare tactics don’t work is because the science behind them is not bearing out the message.

For example, if you tell a child not to touch a hot stove, or warn them repeatedly not to do this, and suddenly they do touch the stove, what happens?

All your warnings result in a whole world of hurt for the child. Thus, they learn quickly never to touch a hot stove.

However, because the amygdala, the part of the brain that is responsible for fight or flight and serves to warn us about danger, is never really activated in a way that results in “real danger” when we try to tell kids how bad too much screen time is for them, then the warnings don’t actually work.

So, is there a better answer to the question on how to let kids manage their own screen time?

how to let kids manage their own screen time

One of our favorite websites, (growing up in the digital age and how to be a positive catalyst for change), sent over a perfect article on how to “share” and not try to “scare” kids into managing their own screen time. 

Thank you and here is their article:

Scare tactics, so popular in our society, do not work. We often give information to others hoping to elicit fear with the goal of changing behavior. Think for example of schools teaching kids about cyberbullying and sexting and having police officers deliver the message.

It is clear that the teens should be scared, really scared, of consequences, but does it stop them from posting mean comments or from sending compromising pictures of themselves?

Unfortunately, scare tactics for long term behavior change have proven not to be very effective.

Let me give one example. Massive public health campaigns designed to combat smoking that showed images of damaged lungs and testimonials from people who were diagnosed with lung cancer from smoking were meant to scare us into not smoking.

It turns out that those campaigns had surprisingly little impact on behavior decisions.

What eventually turned the tide for cutting smoking rates were two main tactics: substantially raising the cost of cigarettes and placing strong limits on the places where people could smoke.

Of course, continuing to educate about the ill effects of tobacco is important but if we had just focused on using scare tactics we would not have made the major progress we see today. That is why it is so essential to show people how to let kids manage their own screen time.

Scare tactics can work better for short term behavior change—but the main point for today is to exam a better tactic than scare tactics which I call “Share Tactics.”

Learn More About SHARE TACTICS here

Here are 3 Tech Talk Tuesdays that you might also be interested in:

how to let kids manage their own screen time

How to Say No Effectively
Failing at Screen Rules, Read This
10 Great Podcasts to Listen to as a Family

Our recommendation – is the brainchild of Filmaker, primary care physician and mother of teenagers, Dr. Delaney Ruston. Her films have screened in over 5,000 schools and groups all over the globe.

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