Teens & Screens: Locked Into an Online World

Ask the Experts by Nicole Runyon

Q: I am witnessing my teenage son experience emotional problems and I think his screen is the culprit. I would like to remove the screen from his life in order for him to reset and get back to himself. However, I worry that he will be disconnected from his friends and risk feeling lonely and alienated. How do I help him find a balance?

A: This is a common issue among parents who are worried that screens are creating a situation for their children to be locked in to the online world and not engaged enough in the real world.

In my presentation, "Screenagers," I refer to the many issues that plague our teens and young children due to the screens.

Many parents feel trapped between their instincts and what their child needs in order to have a social life. We have to begin and continue a conversation as a community in order to bring awareness to this issue.

If there is more awareness regarding what screens are doing to children and teens, more parents will limit their child's use. If more children are limited in their use, then they will be forced to interact face to face, which has many benefits to their social/emotional development. 

I would recommend talking to your teen about when and where to appropriately use his phone. Maybe he sets a time limit for usage. One of the ways to do this is to refrain from taking the phone to his room before going to sleep, reducing the urge to look at it throughout the night.

We have learned that teens are "tired and wired" as a result of using their phones at night. This is often when teens feel that if they are not on their phones, they will miss out, since this is when their interactions with each other occur.

Thus, I would recommend talking to his friend's parents to start a conversation about screens and their effects on children, in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page. 

Save the Date

Teens & Screens

Presented by The Family Center May 17, 2017 7 pm
Teens/adolescents welcome to attend with parents/guardians
Christ Church Grosse Pointe, 61 Grosse Pointe Blvd., Grosse Pointe Farms

FREE, Register online at familycenterweb.org or call 313.432.3832

Nicole Runyon, LMSW is a licensed clinical social worker in Grosse Pointe. She has 14 years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults, couples and families focusing on various psychological issues. She has recently become interested in how the use of screens is affecting adolescent psychology and has been consulting with parents on how to help their children find a balance. Nicole may be reached at (313) 209-4566 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Her company, Professional Psychotherapy LLC is a member of The Family Center's Association of Professionals.

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