Part of determining if your child has an unhealthy relationship with technology is to look for any negative biological or mental-health behaviors including increased anxiety, poor body image, and a lack of focus. Other indicators may be poor academic performance, increased procrastination, and decreased motivation.
Research finds that the hours spent using technology do not necessarily create a good or bad relationship for students. Rather, the key is the content that is consumed. For example, one study finds that sixty-three percent of its participants (ages thirteen to eighteen) who have strict rules about the content that they can access—but do not have rules regarding the time spent on technology—exhibit positive physical and mental health. However, thirty-seven percent of the participants who reported having rules around time spent on technology—but few or no rules on the content consumed—showed poorer sleep habits and body image perceptions compared to the larger group of participants.
Parental controls can, at least to some extent, restrict students’ access to content that is not age appropriate or educationally productive. But what is productive screentime?