Parent App: Families in the Digital Age

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WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show spoke with Lynn Schofield Clark, University of Denver associate professor in Media, Film, and Journalism Studies and the author of The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age, about how parents manage their children's use of digital technology.

The segment sparked lots of comments from listeners. One young adult, identified as itauer, said the conversation goes both ways.

"As a 29 yro who grew up with the development of texting, IM, and social media, I've noticed a converse discussion could be had regarding training parents who are new to smart phones, Facebook (and, unfortunately now dating) on electronic etiquette," he said. "My 31 yro brother and I never have phones out on the table while dining but at family dinner our mother is constantly texting/checking FB. We've had to sit our parents down and discuss FB and online dating profiles, keeping themselves and their personal information safe online and general etiquette regarding cell phone use and Facebook. Just wanted to point out this conversation goes both ways :)"

J in Brooklyn wrote: "Great topic, can we have a future conversation focusing on how to deal with younger children and this issue? Our 8 year old has just inherited his dads old iPhone to use as an iPad (no phone connection but wireless still), its been hugely addictive for him (minecraft mostly). Apparently many of his classmates also have their parents old iPhones - I'd like to know how other parents are dealing with this."

"My experience is that iPods and other electronics take away from family time," said John from the office. "Take a ride on the subway and see the mother with the head phones on, not engaging with the child. Rap music instead of the three Rs."

Ian Webster from NYC said technology was good for his family. "I was really lucky as my brother, father and I sat down in front of our favorite adventure game and took turns playing together. This went on for a few years and are some of my favorite memories with my family as a teenager. We discussed the problem solving aspects of the game, bounced ideas off each other, and got swept away in the adventure as a family," he said. "I still use the problem solving skills I learned from these games, and we still talk about some of the great times we had. In our case, technology was a great thing that brought us together."

If that is not the situation in your household you can always listen to Mike from Tribeca who shared the following tip: "Parents can always take the example of the father of tennis doubles champs the Bryan brothers and just throw the X-Box into a ravine."