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Media Rules
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We were thrilled to welcome nearly 1,400 parents, educators, and students to Stanford on September 30th for our largest parent education event of the year, Media Rules: Healthy Connections in the Digital Age, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair. A full recording of the program is now available on YouTube.

With the event title, Media Rules, we played on three different definitions of the word rules as it relates to media:
  1. Media is cool; it's awe-inspiring; it’s a positive force — it rules.
  2. What are the rules of media to follow in order to maintain balance, safety, and health for your family?
  3. Media rules all of our lives. It can feel overwhelming and all-encompassing in everything we do.
Though it was an ambitious topic to fully cover in a 1.5 hour program, Dr. Steiner-Adair, along with our Co-Founders, Dr. Denise Pope and Dr. Madeline Levine, provided our community with important research and offered specific advice on how to navigate the media revolution — see below for two lists that highlight some of our favorite takeaways from the event.

Tips to Manage Media

  1. Restrict the use of devices in the car. Car rides offer a great opportunity for conversation with our children. When parents talk on the phone while driving with kids, we inadvertently tell them that a conversation with the person on the other end of the phone is more important than an in-person discussion with them.

  1. Prohibit devices at the dinner table; this is sacred family time which should be preserved.

  1. Talk with your children about appropriate online conduct. Many adults are naive about their children’s exposure to harmful online behavior. Even if your own children’s usage is benign, it’s likely that they have observed poor behavior by others.

  1. Don’t text your kids during the day at school; it’s distracting. It makes children anxious when parents innocently text, "How'd you do on the test, honey?" This takes away their independence and the parent-child separation they deserve during school time.

  1. Avoid reaching for your phone first thing in the morning. What you see in your inbox instantly frames your day and doesn't allow you the opportunity to create your own agenda — it immediately places you in a reactive mode.

  1. Have your kids disengage from technology at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour, before bed. The blue light that devices emit stimulates the retina and decreases the brain's production of melatonin, which makes falling asleep more difficult.

  1. Set a time in the evening by which all devices are out of the bedroom. Not only will your teenagers get more sleep, but this “curfew” will help support time management skills.

  1. Teenagers (and adults) should not use their phones as alarm clocks. If a phone is by their bedside, they will be tempted to respond to texts and social media, which will delay or interrupt sleep.

  1. Through middle school, look through your children’s texts and let them know you’re doing it. Don’t view this as policing, but rather trying to give them perspective that their online activity is never truly private.

  1. Be curious; don’t stick your head in the sand out of fear of finding out what your kids are doing online. Display interest and create a dialogue — they are often doing something productive and would value your genuine interest and support.

Be sure to view the entire video for more information and insight, and feel free to share the link with friends and family. Refer to the following timestamps to help guide you through the recording:
Introduction of program by Co-Founders
Dr. Denise Pope and Dr. Madeline Levine
Keynote address by Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair
Student speaker, Hannah Thompson,
Dover-Sherborn Public High School
Student vignettes and interactive panel discussion
Strategies for Healthy, Well-Balanced Kids and Stronger Schools
At Challenge Success, we believe that our society has become too focused on grades, test scores, and performance, leaving little time for kids to develop the necessary skills needed to become resilient, ethical, and engaged learners. We provide schools and families with the information and strategies they need to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for their kids. Learn more about our impact and how to support our mission. Challenge Success is a non-profit organization affiliated with the Stanford University Graduate School of Education.
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