No Guilt Mom

Why Screen-Free Parenting is a Cool Idea (But It Won't Work) with Dr. Katie Davis

May 23, 2023 No Guilt Mom, JoAnn Crohn, Brie Tucker, Dr. Katie Davis Episode 185
No Guilt Mom
Why Screen-Free Parenting is a Cool Idea (But It Won't Work) with Dr. Katie Davis
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to the No Guilt Mom podcast! In this episode, we are chatting with Dr. Katie Davis, an associate professor and director of the Digital Youth Lab at the University of Washington! Dr. Davis draws on her expertise in developmental science and design research on the role of technology in child development. Listen in to learn how to create an appropriate and balanced approach to technology when it comes to raising your kids. 

In this episode, we talk about why screen time recommendations should be based on your child and their developmental stage, as well as the context in which they use technology, how we as parents can use technology with their children to enhance their learning and engage in joint media engagement, and how to be mindful of the messages you send about technology use to your children and how to aim for a balanced approach.

Resources We Shared:

Balance VIP- Are you stressed out, feeling like you're doing it all on your own? Through personal coaching and accountability, you will break through your overwhelm and follow through with your goals to be the happy mom you were meant to be In this exclusive coaching program for women!

Technology's Child: Digital Media’s Role in the Ages and Stages of Growing Up by Dr. Katie Davis

Sign up for Dr. Katie Davis’s newsletter HERE

You are Such a Good Day (song by @Ilovefarideh)

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Transcripts for No Guilt Mom Podcast Episode 185 with Dr. Katie Davis

Transcripts were produced using A.I. There may be some mistakes as a result.

[00:00:00] JoAnn Crohn: Welcome to The No Guilt Mom podcast. I am your host, JoAnn Crohn here with the lovely brie Tucker. 

[00:00:07] Brie Tucker: Why Hello. Hello everybody. How are you? 

[00:00:10] JoAnn Crohn: Brie and I were just talking about our weekends, like the hard, the hard weekends. 

[00:00:16] Brie Tucker: It's always a hard weekend when you got a teen, especially in my opinion, my daughter as a teen is a little bit more tricky than my son.

[00:00:25] JoAnn Crohn: It is. It's all about, there's a lot of emotions. I went into this thinking like, oh, we have a really great relationship and we do. I have a great relationship with my daughter, but the mood swings are intense and. It's, it's weird being a part of them because when you see like people, like friends who have teenagers, you're never really witness to the mood swings.

They only pull that out for you in like personal situations. It's so intense. It feels so personal. I have broken down so many times because of how mean my teen. Has been to me. 

[00:00:59] Brie Tucker: Well, I was telling you, so two things on that. I told you that I, having a teen daughter has made me call my mom on several occasions and apologize for my behavior as a teen.

Cause I'm like mm-hmm I remember doing this to you and I'm so sorry. And half of the time, mom doesn't remember what I'm talking about, which I find kind of funny. And the other half of the time she laughs at me and is like, it's okay. What did Audrey do this week? Cause she knows that there's always like a spot for it.

[00:01:24] JoAnn Crohn: It's hard too because it's when you have a teen, and especially with us as parenting, parenting coaches and educators, we know developmentally, teens are going through a lot. It is their biggest brain change since they were toddlers. Yeah, yeah. And we know all this stuff logically. We know they're trying to control their emotions and they're reacting in like unhelpful ways.

We know they're learning. And yet when you're on the other side of that behavior, You can't help but take it personally in the moment. Like it hurts you right 

there. Yeah. Yeah. In the heart. 

[00:01:58] Brie Tucker: And I think you were also pointing out too, like how you compare what you see other people doing, which are, our main mode of that is social media and you had a post.

[00:02:08] JoAnn Crohn: Mm-hmm. 

[00:02:09] Brie Tucker: Um, you know, earlier in. I think it was like April about how you went on this. You guys did a, a jog together. You did a, a marathon. Yeah. And how you had this pretty picture on social media, but that there were things behind the, the scenes and it's, that's how it is with parenting, but especially with parenting, a teen, like you think, you think you got it.

They, they just go through these phases. You think you got it. They're really great for 8, 9, 10, 11 years old, and then they hit 11 and you hit this bump and you're like, whoa, I thought I had this down. It's normal, but it's normal. 

[00:02:40] JoAnn Crohn: And you can't talk about that on social media like you can about potty training or toddler tantrums because you have a teenager who's seeing everything Oh yeah.

That you post. Mm-hmm. And so unless you have a community of people who are very, very open with each other, like, we hope we could be for you on this podcast. And that's also what we provide in our Balance VIP group. You never know this is happening. And so you think you're failing as a parent, but you're not.

[00:03:07] Brie Tucker: Yeah. But you're really right on par. 

[00:03:10] JoAnn Crohn: Yeah, you're right on par. You're right where it is. Yeah. 

[00:03:14] Brie Tucker: Well, and it's great that you brought that up about about Balance VIP, cuz like in our balance program, like every month we focus on something different to help build skills for us as moms. And sometimes building skills is building awareness, realizing that you're not alone, but then also giving you tools to add to your toolbox on how to work through those challenges.

Mm-hmm. And this month in May, we're finishing up our digital detox, which has been a blast. I have, I personally have learned so much from, because you are the mastermind behind these challenges. I, you're you, JoAnn is the mastermind to create a lot of these, and I just kinda like help put the moving parts together.

So most people don't know this, but I'm learning things as we're going through it with our Balance community. And it has been an amazing month so far here. 

[00:03:58] JoAnn Crohn: Well, I'm, I'm like the epitome of a teacher because I just learned it the month before. Yeah. Put it together. It's like you just have to be one chapter ahead of the textbook.

[00:04:07] Brie Tucker: That's all that matters. And parent, you just have to be one chapter ahead. Yeah. 

[00:04:11] JoAnn Crohn: And that, but okay. That, that's cutting myself a little short because. So to go on a little bit of a tangent, which I think is a really, really helpful tangent, is that we are taught as women not to tout our own experience and expertise.


[00:04:25] Brie Tucker: it's bragging and whatever. 

[00:04:27] JoAnn Crohn: Yes, it's bragging and we've seen women vilified for it. Hillary Clinton was vilified for it. So many other women, Taylor Swift is vilified for it. And there is this great opinion piece that I just read about Taylor Swift and in her concert there is, which I went to in Glendale, the like debut.

And I saw this, I saw, I saw this transition. She did. She gets up in front and she just opens the concert to like, Tens of thousands of people and she's like, wow. It's like you've never seen a woman headline to this many people before. And then she like flexes a muscle. She is absolutely right, but everybody, when they hear her say that, they're like, oh, that's a little cocky.

And then you catch yourself and you're like, wait a minute. Yeah. If a man said that we would not think he's cocky, we'd be like, good for you bud. Right? Like, good for you. Look at what you did. And so this opinion piece was this author saying like, acknowledging that in herself and then saying that, Come to find out, this author is very, very talented trail runner, and when people ask her how her race went, she's like, oh, I had fun on the trail.

No girl has set records on her trail runs and come in first, but she will not say that to anybody because she's afraid of touting her own accomplishment. Wow. So I bring that back. Yeah. But what I said about balance, when I'm like, I'm a chapter ahead of everybody else, I actually have a long line of expertise, and I've been doing this for many, many, many, many years, and I do have a lot to bring to the situation, and I do work hard on it.

So I say that in the hopes that if you are also very accomplished, which every one of you are, that you start noticing, giving yourself that credit. Giving yourself that credit. Yes. 

[00:06:14] Brie Tucker: So with that being said, we are so excited for this this interview with Dr. Katie Davis because she fits perfectly into our digital detox that we are dealing with this month.

[00:06:26] JoAnn Crohn: Yes. And it's all about making our screens not the boss of us, because like screens aren't bad. But I mean, they have some addictive qualities that are purposely designed to be addictive because the app developers want you to stay on forever. And being aware of those, uh, especially when our kids are using screen time is so helpful.

And in this interview you are gonna hear about those things to watch out for in apps so that you could make. More informed screen time decisions. So not that all screen time is bad, it's just you're gonna be more informed after this interview because Dr. Katie Davis is an associate professor and director of the Digital Youth Lab at the University of Washington.

She draws on her expertise in developmental science and design research, as well as her experiences as a parent and an educator to bring clarity to what we know about technology's role. In child development. She has a wonderful book that I've read called Technology's Child. If you wanna dig into this a little further after the interview, but we hope you enjoy our conversation with Dr. Katie Davis.

You want mom life to be easier. That's our goal too. Our mission is to raise more self-sufficient and independent kids, and we are going to have fun doing it. 

We're gonna help you delegate and step back. Each episode will tackle strategies for positive discipline, making our kids more responsible and making our lives better in the process.

Welcome to the No Guilt Mom Podcast.

Welcome to the podcast Katie. So excited to have you here because I started reading Technology's Child, your book, and I have so many questions. You hit on things that I have seen as a coach, but I haven't known how to explain to parents about screen time. So I'm so excited to do all this thing about screen time and uh, let's get into it.

[00:08:37] Dr. Katie Davis: The first, oh, it was so great to hear. 

[00:08:39] JoAnn Crohn: Yeah. I. Okay. I I have no really calm and delicate, graceful segue into this. So, because it's a, it's a burning tide into it, 

[00:08:51] Brie Tucker: it's a burning topic's, a there's always questions about, and. We feel that your perspective on this is very, very aligned with ours. So great to hear. Yeah. 

[00:09:02] JoAnn Crohn: The thing that absolutely I saw running through your book is saying how that there's really no blanket screen time recommendations for everybody. That it just, it depends on the child and it's the child that needs to be considered. Can you talk a little bit more on that? 

[00:09:19] Dr. Katie Davis: Absolutely. So yes, and, and in many ways I would say that the term screen time is not particularly helpful because it doesn't really capture the nuance of what's going on, because just starting with the technologies themselves, there's a lot of different things you can do with any given screen, whether it's a mobile phone or a computer or a tablet.

So in my book, I'm really talking about. Focusing in on, well, what is the different technology? But then as you say, who's the child who's interacting with it and, and what's their personality like? Where are they in developmentally? What sort of context are they experiencing in their lives at home and at school, and other context. So really we need to be looking at the technology and how it's been designed and the kinds of experiences that are possible and not possible with the technology. We need to look at the individual child and we need to look at the context, and that's both the immediate context, but then just the surrounding societal context and all the messages that are coming at families about technology.

[00:10:25] JoAnn Crohn: So the technology, the child, and the context. Let's start with that technology component because we've all heard that apps do certain things to draw you in, and I've really loved how you broke it down in your book specifically what to look for in young children's apps. Bree, this is gonna blow your mind by the way, what to look for in young children's apps.

So what should parents look for when their child, their preschooler, or their young grade schooler is engaging with an app? 

[00:10:55] Dr. Katie Davis: Absolutely. So the term to think about here is dark patterns, and you're look on the lookout for dark patterns in the design of whatever app it is that your child's engaged in, and really dark patterns.

It sounds ominous, but all it is is just particular designs that developers have chosen to incorporate into their app in order to. Hold our attention and keep us engaged on the platform. And so in the context of children's tech use, dark patterns can be things like virtual characters in a game who cry if you exit out of them. Virtual rewards, 

[00:11:33] Brie Tucker: What?!

[00:11:34] Dr. Katie Davis: I mean. Yes. Yes. 

[00:11:35] Brie Tucker: Emotional manipulation at its finest. Yeah. Oh my goodness. 

[00:11:40] Dr. Katie Davis: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. You know, countdown clocks. Hidden ads, even just the way you navigate within an, in a platform, if it's difficult to find your way home. Yeah, that's a dark pattern because it's hard to exit.

So there are all sorts of tricks that developers use to keep us engaged and to keep our children engaged. And when you think about little kids and the the kinds of skills that are really important for them to develop, one of them. Is the ability to regulate their emotions and their behavior. Mm-hmm. And the, that constellation of skills is called executive function skills.

Mm-hmm. And it's really hard to develop those kinds of skills in the context of technologies that have a lot, lot of these dark patterns. And so I'm, what I'm saying in the book is that beware of these dark patterns. But it's not the case that all technologies have dark patterns and not all to the same degree.

Mm-hmm. And I would say that a little bit of a few games here and there that have these dark patterns in them is not going to be detrimental, but it can help you understand why it's so difficult for your child to put a game down. Or to exit out of an autoplay on YouTube or Netflix. And I think that understanding really helps a lot and it takes off some of the burden of saying, oh, why is my kid so addicted?

Mm-hmm. Well, it's not necessarily that they're addicted, it's just that this has been designed to hold their attention. Yeah. And so it's absolutely understandable that they're having a hard time putting it down. 

[00:13:12] Brie Tucker: Okay. Okay. I don't feel so bad now about how I can't stop Bingeing on Netflix. It's making me feel a little bit better 

[00:13:17] Dr. Katie Davis: than, oh yeah.

No, Netflix, it's absolutely applies to adults as well. It's designed that way. 

[00:13:23] JoAnn Crohn: Yeah. Here's the show you should watch next. Yeah. Particularly, yes. Picked out for you, 

[00:13:27] Brie Tucker: but that's a good point, right? Because as an adult, if we're struggling with this, yeah, it's a no-brainer that, of course, our child that doesn't have the same level of skills that we have.

In the cell. Same self-regulation and or willpower. I don't wanna say willpower necessarily, but along those lines, they don't have that. How are they gonna be able to maneuver through it? But I, I'm still, I'm still reeling over the characters that cry when my kids cry. That's just 

[00:13:52] JoAnn Crohn: when I read that, I thought of 

[00:13:54] Brie Tucker: I know right.

[00:13:54] JoAnn Crohn: Thought of you. I'm like, 

[00:13:55] Brie Tucker: you saw my face in your head before I even made it. Yeah. 

[00:13:59] JoAnn Crohn: No, but you touched on something too, Katie, with a lot of things we hear from parents is that their kids become, Quote unquote monsters after they use the screen time. And I think being aware of these dark patterns, it's not so much that their kids just become monsters after this blanket use of screen time.

It's this something in the app's design that is making it very, very hard for the child to put it down. And I think that is such a big aha. 

[00:14:23] Dr. Katie Davis: Yes. Yes. And usually that sort of monster behavior is coming from the fact that they've just experienced a, a length of time where their attention has been guided for them.

Mm-hmm. And so it's easy when you come off of that to feel a bit of dysregulation in your behavior. And that's sort of not knowing how to regain control of your own behavior. And it can take a little while. And so that's why, you know, in this case, The idea of screen time can be somewhat useful because if you're engaged in that kind of activity for a long period of time, it's just gonna be that much harder to regain your own self-control and control over your attention.

[00:15:06] JoAnn Crohn: Yeah, definitely. In regards to attention, a lot of the things the parents look out for in apps are, they're educational and. Something that you mentioned is that when kids are engaging in apps, it should be like a self-directed learning experience and that really, like you changed my definition of this because you were talking about your experience with your son in the app and I can't, is it dynamic alphabet or ...

[00:15:33] Dr. Katie Davis: oh, right. That was endless alphabet. 

[00:15:35] JoAnn Crohn: Endless alphabet, which you were like, mm-hmm. Oh my gosh. This app is so cool. This will be like a great experience versus what happened when using a book. Can you tell that and what you saw in that? 

[00:15:47] Dr. Katie Davis: Yes, so I like any other parent. I'm on the lookout for educational apps for my son and especially, I was writing this book when Oliver was little three, four, and five.

Took me a while to write it because of the pandemic and he was engaged in a lot of different kinds of apps and a lot of literacy apps. And one of them is endless alphabet and it really is, it's a very open-ended app and that's one of the qualities that I urge parents to look for is, is this app.

Open-ended and is it self-paced? Can your child actually direct what they're doing in the app or are they being directed by the design of the app? So that's what I mean by self-directed and it's one of the key qualities of a developmentally supportive tech experience. And so on the face of it, endless alphabet absolutely checks all the boxes.

However, you never know how a particular kid is gonna end up playing with a particular app and. Oliver was totally fascinated by the animated noises that these letters make when you move them. So you, you're supposed to move these letters onto an outline of the letter in order to create a word. One of his favorite words was odor.

I'm not sure exactly why, but, and that just stands out to me. Yeah. And scrumptious that he once said, my breakfast is scrumptious mummy. Um, so that was good. Um, But you know, I think for the first little while of him playing, at least I would say several months, he was just totally fascinated and having so much fun with these little wobbly letters, and I'm not so sure how much he was actually getting out of it in terms of learning that those letters actually make a sound and those sounds combined together.

To form a word. However, he did start to get it after several months and as I think when he was developmentally ready, more like age four, four and a half when he was ready. The key though, and I contrast in the book, that experience to me reading with him, just a board book, Richard Scar's, I think Busy Town is the one I compared it to.

So if we. Compare Oliver's experience with the endless Alphabet app to say our experience together Reading Richard Scar's Busy Town. It's a very different experience and it's not just because one is digital and one is analog, but when we're sitting down together and reading Richard Scar's busy town. I can really make that experience a very personal one and tie what we're looking at on the page to a aspects of Oliver's experience and his life and the things I know that he's interested in.

And so that concept is called social contingency, where caregivers and really any adult in a child's life, The reason why they are so good at supporting children's development is because they can make those personal connections. And that's something that an interactive app, although it is interactive, it doesn't really know who it's interacting with and it doesn't know the backstory of that child.

And so that can be a little bit limiting. It's, it doesn't mean that kids aren't getting anything out of it because there's certainly educational dimensions to many apps. However, beware that even though they say that they're very educational, there's virtually no peer reviewed research supporting those educational claims.

They have nothing. Take it with them. They have nothing. No, they don't. So take it with a grain of salt. 

Yeah. Another thing 

I found fascinating is it's going into this perception of what us parents find, what we see and we're like, oh my gosh, that is such a good experience versus what is actually supportive of.

The kids' development, and I think you did, you did such a good job explaining it when you talked about playgrounds and you Oh yes. How you thought the Berlin playground versus the US playground and what really mattered. Can you tell us your story 

about that? Absolutely. So for the first year and a half of Oliver's life, we lived in Seattle and then we moved for my sabbatical from the University of Washington to Berlin.

And so we were there for four years and we had the opportunity to. To experience the amazingly gorgeous playgrounds that are just everywhere. And you know, they have different themes. So the one that was right outside of our apartment building was, had a big pirate ship and, and a big wooden pirate chest that kids could.

Crawl into There was one. Oh, that's fun. Oh, it was amazing. There was one that was a giant dragon structure, and it was painted green with a bright orange or red tongue. There was one that was even designed after a post office. You know, you could just find any sort of playground. But the key material that you're gonna see at a Berlin playground is wood.

And the more hand chiseled, worn looking, the better. And that really contrasts. With what you see in the typical North American playground, which is usually bright plastic contraptions that are pretty much standard from what I can tell across the us. Mm-hmm. And, um, as parents, we, or just as humans, we look at and may compare these playgrounds and say, well, the one in, the one in Berlin must be so much better.

It's so much more beautiful. And that's what we as humans tend to do. We associate. Beauty with goodness. But what I'm arguing and using that example to do, although it has nothing to do with technology, is to. Really kind of interrogate what are the assumptions behind that? And actually the aesthetics of a play experience don't have a lot to do with the actual quality of the play experience.

And what we really need to do is look at how it's been designed. And so if you're climbing up and sliding down a slide that is this part of a beautiful wooden playground and you're doing the same on a plastic playground. Probably that experience is gonna be pretty similar. What we really need to focus on is how that play experience has been designed.

And so I use that example of the playgrounds to bring that into the technology space and say, you know what? We have a lot of preconceptions about technology and in our society. Technology often, although we are often so excited about the latest Skagit when it comes to kids, there's a lot of fear and there's just this inherent assumption that screen time is a bad thing.

And what I'm arguing is that, well, some screen time certainly is, and you know, screen time that is full of dark patterns. Yes, beware of that, but. You really have to dig a little bit deeper and look at the design and look at what does that allow the child to do? Can they exert their own agency and they can, they direct their own play experience?

Because really the best kind of play and the best kind of learning, because there's a lot of learning that's going on in the play experience is. One that's self-directed and open-ended, and so that's what you're really looking for when you are trying to judge any one app or any one digital experience.

[00:22:59] JoAnn Crohn: The apps that have you go along a certain path where you're earning prizes and when you're getting rewards, those aren't quite as, Good in a developmental sense as the apps that allow you to move things around. I immediately thought of this app that my, uh, daughter loves called Play Home and she actually, she's 14 and she downloads it to her phone cuz it's relaxing for her.

And it's just made of a collection of what you term in the book. Loose parts. Mm-hmm. Where you can move things around, you can have them interact with each other. It's like creating an imaginary landscape for kids, which. Is so interesting seeing how that is more beneficial in a play sense. 

[00:23:42] Dr. Katie Davis: Yes, absolutely.

So I use this idea of loose parts, which comes from a sculpture, um, professor named Simon Nicholson, and he argued and later research has supported that loose parts is what you're really looking for when it comes to children's play, whether it's digital or analog. And if you think about. Just things that you might encounter outside sticks or sand or pebbles.

That stick could be a sword. It could be a horse that you ride. It could be part of a house that you build. There are so many things that loose parts can be depending on a child's imagination and loose parts really encourage children to use their imagination. And so this is what ideally you're trying to look for when it comes to digital experiences.

You know how again, it comes to self-pacing and self-direction are there. Parts, digital parts in this experience that my child can actually manipulate and create something new. You know, a great example I think would be in Minecraft, in creator mode, where you can actually build worlds. You know, there are a lot of loose parts in vr.

There's a great, Oculus has a great painting app in VR where you know it's, you can paint an in 3D and it's just incredible what you can do. So there are loose parts to be found in digital form. I argue though that sometimes they may be a little bit harder to find again because. Every digital experience has been very specifically programmed by the developer and they make decisions about what's possible and what's not possible to do, and that can sometimes be a little bit limiting.

[00:25:22] JoAnn Crohn: Mm-hmm. Yeah. It's funny cuz your description of loose parts reminded me of, of this experience that Brie and I both had at a painting studio and having things being self-directed versus lead. Our friend Jen, We went to like a painting night and Brie's like, okay, 

I remember this. 

[00:25:40] Brie Tucker: I was like, what is she gonna talk about with this one?

[00:25:43] JoAnn Crohn: But yeah, so we, we went to a painting night with a group of women and it was one of those things where the instructors in the front of the room teaching us how to do this painting. And uh, Jen comes in and she brings her own big brush and she's like, you know what? Forget this instructor. I am painting my own canvas.

[00:26:01] Dr. Katie Davis: I love it. 

[00:26:01] JoAnn Crohn: And I am not following the steps whatsoever. And. It just made me think of this idea of not having, Being directed in an activity. Mm-hmm. Like the benefits of not being directed versus the creativity allowed. 

[00:26:15] Dr. Katie Davis: Yes. And, but you know what, that example is such a great one because some people actually, in order to get started, they do benefit from a little bit of guidance and I've actually been to one of those, some painting nights.

They're really fun. Yeah. And I'm an abysmal artist. And I actually, me too, really appreciated having a little bit of guidance. Guidance to know where to start staying stay 


[00:26:35] Brie Tucker: I, I do not have that artistic, that, that, just pull it out of anywhere creativity that our friend Jen has. I just, I'm with you like, show me some direction.

I like having wiggle room within the direction, but. Yeah, sure. 

[00:26:47] Dr. Katie Davis: Gimme a path and, and then, you know, it comes back to all children are individual and so there really is no one size fits all. Mm-hmm. And yeah, so some kids are gonna need a little bit more structure. And also there's a whole. Kind of play called guided play where adults and, and maybe older children are actually providing specific guidance.

And that is very important for development. But what I'm saying is that you also wanna leave space for the more self-directed experiences. Mm-hmm. Because there's so much good development that's happening there where. Kids are developing their own resilience and even just emotion regulation. If they're playing with other kids, they're developing their moral sensibility, and it's just really an important piece of play that you wanna keep front and center as a parent.


[00:27:36] JoAnn Crohn: Yeah, definitely. And you describe this concept of being a good enough digital parent. Yes. And I think that's so important for people to 

hear. Can you describe that? 

[00:27:46] Dr. Katie Davis: Yes. Well, you know, I became a parent six years ago, and. As you, I'm sure, also have this experience, there's a lot of pressure associated with being a parent and you know, in today's landscape, they even have a name for it.

Intensive parenting. There's so many expectations on parents today to just provide their kids with. Every enriching activity possible, whether that's digital or analog, and just be on top of everything. And by the way, have a full career as well. Yes. And so it can be exhausting and moms in particular, dads need to get off the hook a bit.

Yeah, absolutely. Unfortunately, a little too often. Yeah. Yes. Especially during the pandemic. And so I think that with all that pressure comes a lot of guilt. And this absolutely, you can see in the digital realm there's a lot of judgment among parents, but also just in the media messages we get around giving ourselves or giving our children too much screen time.

That's considered a really bad thing and there's a ton of judgment there. And so I introduced this concept of the good enough digital parent, and I'm actually referencing a concept that comes from the mid 20th century. It was a a well-known pediatrician. Called Donald Winnicott and he wrote about this idea of the good enough mother.

Mm-hmm. Because, you know, we were back in the mid 20th century. My guess dads we're only ever expected to be good enough. 

[00:29:10] JoAnn Crohn: Yeah. They've always been expected just to be good enough, right? Yeah. If they're 

not like dumpster, like they're, they're not drunk on the couch. They're good. They're, they're, they're good.

[00:29:18] Brie Tucker: Yeah. They're, I keep hearing in my head, I have throw out there, I'm so sorry. There is this woman that I've seen on TikTok and on Instagram that has a song she wrote about all the things that the mom does and the, and the main chorus line is like, and then. The dad shows up and he's at the park with the wife and somebody walks up to dad and is like, wow, you're such a 

good dad.

[00:29:36] JoAnn Crohn: Good job. Yeah, yeah. Oh my God, my God. Just cause he's 

there. Spend time with the kids. Good job. 

[00:29:41] Brie Tucker: Such a good dad. But mom, 

[00:29:43] JoAnn Crohn: you didn't do 

[00:29:43] Brie Tucker: 15 gazillion things. 

[00:29:45] Dr. Katie Davis: Yeah, no, that is so true. I can relate to that. Absolutely. When my son was little, my stepfather got that as the grandfather who was so involved. Just everyone was so impressed.

Wow. Good job. And my mother. As the grandmother was like, well, what about me? I'm also involved. Mm-hmm. But yeah, I guess I was just expected. So this idea of the good enough mother, I updated to the good enough parent in this 21st century context. And then basically the idea associated with this is that Winnco was arguing that.

If we're always there for our children to solve any problem that that they have, or if they're having an interpersonal challenge to figure it out for them or if they're bored, to give them a next activity to get them onboard. If we're always there like that, there's no space for kids to develop their own resilience.

And so it actually does a dis a disservice to our children if we are just 100% responsive 100% of the time. Mm-hmm. So I move that idea into the digital realm and, and I say, you know what, parents, we're not gonna be perfect at this. As a researcher, I know that there is no research that shows this is the right way to do it and this is the wrong way to do it.

We are tinkering and we're. We're testing things out, we're observing and we're adjusting as we go. And importantly, as long as we're making that effort and we're really paying attention to our kids and how they respond, that's kind of good enough. And that's actually pretty great and you can learn a lot that way and be a really good parent, digitally speaking in that sense.

And then there's another really important piece of the good enough digital parent, because we often, I think our guilt doesn't just come from. The way we let our kids use technology, but often we feel guilty for our own technology use, especially around our kids. And so here again, I want parents to give themselves a bit of a break because again, these devices have been designed explicitly, specifically to keep us engaged so it's not some personal failing on our part, but actually us responding to the design and the purpose of these platforms and apps.

And so, yes. Yeah, so I want parents to give themselves a bit of a break, but also not just throw your hands up and say, well, I'm just gonna let the flood gates open and use my technology whenever I want. But try and use, if you find yourself slipping up, use that as a teachable moment for little kids. I do that a lot with Oliver.

If I find my eyes glancing over to my phone, I'll say, oh, you know what? I'm distracted. Let me. Put that away and then we can focus on what we were doing. And then for older kids, you know, into the teen years, I think it can be a really great entryway into a connection that parents can make with their kids saying, you know what, if you're struggling, I'm also struggling.

And maybe we can have a conversation around that. Um, a nonjudgmental conversation. And I think that can be really powerful as well. 

[00:32:45] JoAnn Crohn: Yeah, it's funny, I have, we both have teenagers and I've gotten into these conversations with my daughter and sometimes it could be very, very hard to to start because she will be initially resistant to it, and it just helps to pose the questions.

I'll be like, do you ever feel like you can't stop using that? And she'll be like, no. And then later on she'll mention something and I'm like, oh God in. Okay, cool. 

[00:33:10] Dr. Katie Davis: Yes. And I think the key is to just wait, be patient and keep asking. Yeah. And as much as possible to suspend judgment and just, I. Enter into those kinds of conversations with an open mind, with genuine curiosity.

[00:33:25] JoAnn Crohn: Definitely. 

Well, thank you so much Katie, for joining us. I highly recommend everybody get your book, the Tech Technology's Child, which is digital media's role in the ages and stages of growing up. It is fascinating and it's super helpful. 

[00:33:42] Brie Tucker: Yeah, right. Like I mean, that's thinge, like if you are sweating it, It gives us the ability to have like a little bit of a lighter feeling of that guilt.

Yeah. Plus how to actually work with it. Yeah. Yes. Because there isn't a lot out there that tells us what to do other than just you're ruining your kid by laying them have screens. 

[00:33:56] Dr. Katie Davis: Right. Pretty much. Absolutely. And I, I also have a, um, an accompanied newsletter, weekly newsletter if your listeners are interested in with tips and ideas from the book.

And you can sign up for that at 

[00:34:10] JoAnn Crohn: Very cool. Aw. Well thank you for joining us and we'll talk to you later. Thank you so much. Well, I, I, I learned so much from, uh, Dr. Davis's book as well as just talking with her about all these things that developers put into the apps. And like, I loved your expression too, Brie.

I was waiting that whole interview for you to have the reaction to the crying child and the app. 

[00:34:34] Brie Tucker: That is so mean, isn't it? Yes. And you knew that that would give me, because not it. Just my whole, my whole, my passion is early childhood. Those kids are learning about emotions. Their brain is developing constantly.

And to think that sub old app, app developers are taking that, that empathy that they're building, that emotional stability. Mm-hmm. And just manipulating it a manipulative way. It's so mean. It's so mean like kicking a puppy. It's so mean, like kicking a puppy in my mind. 

[00:35:07] JoAnn Crohn: Yeah, it is uncalled for. It is most definitely uncalled for, but you know what?

Shame, shame. I know your name. app developers. 

[00:35:13] Brie Tucker: I know, right? But I, I loved what Dr. Katie brought forth because I'm calling her Dr. Katie. I hope it's okay. Dr. Dr. Katie, Dr. Davis. Dr. Katie is what I've nicknamed you in my head, but I love the fact that a big portion of her platform is that, listen, Screen free parenting is just not likely for most people.

Mm-hmm. So quit beating yourself up over it and just learn what you need to learn. 

[00:35:39] JoAnn Crohn: And side note, here I go. I'm climbing up on my horse, on my platform. Here I 

go. Side note, don't judge other people when their kids are on screens. Oh, 

[00:35:49] Brie Tucker: I know. 

[00:35:49] JoAnn Crohn: There I go. Go down off my soapbox. Okay. 

[00:35:52] Brie Tucker: I know that's a hard one. I find myself every once in a while being a little bit judgy of somebody else for whatever the reason it.

It might be parenting and it might be my neighbor, they'll. Double parking on, on the street next to me, whatever. And I'll sit there and I'll be like, wait a minute. I dunno what's going on. And I try to run through other scenarios in my head so that way mm-hmm. I can at least be thoughtful. The fact that I have probably been there.

There are. And what did I probably look at look like to other people too in the moment? Trying to break that judgment. I wanna say like feeling like that, that 

judgment cycle. Oh yeah. Thing that I do it too. It's 

like a big dark cloud that just is all of us. 

[00:36:30] JoAnn Crohn: If I go into a restaurant and I see kids on iPads instead of talking at the table with their kids, immediately I will judge.

But again, I don't know what's going on. I don't know if the parents had just had a really bad day and they just need a little bit of quiet at that table and enjoy a nice meal without their kids complaining that there's nothing on the menu for them to eat. I get that. I can, I can empathize with that. 

[00:36:53] Brie Tucker: Or even, right, or even that.

This is like a big reward for their kid. Their kid did something amazing. And so the agreement was that they get to do X, Y, Z. Like we only get to see a glimpse of what's going on. So the best we can do is be supportive and just have faith that we are all trying to do our best. 

[00:37:12] JoAnn Crohn: Oh yeah. And it's funny the reasons people turn to devices too, because I brought this up with my daughter that I felt ignored when she went for her phone and she, she's so insightful.

She said, I just needed the time to calm down and I didn't wanna be mean. I'm like, okay, so I see this. You're using it to regulate it so you don't say something that you have to apologize for later. Okay. I get it. I get it. 

[00:37:36] Brie Tucker: You're like in that case. Okay. Because again, our kids are growing up in a, in a different world than we did.

Mm-hmm. And we used technology a different way than they do. I was shocked when my son started high school two years ago. In the first week of school, he's like, mom, I need my cell phone at school. And I had, by the way, I hadn't taken it from him, but I had, but I did question him and why he was taking at school.

He's like, I need to, because we actually have to use it in class. Like our teachers, before we get our laptops, there are things that we have to log onto for the internet and they, they know what, they don't have enough devices for everybody. So they're always like, Hey, if you got a phone, pull it out. If you don't, then I'll give you one of, one of our three laptops we have or something.

So again, I guess what I'm just trying to point out is that, They have a different life, a whole different way of doing things than we do. 

[00:38:24] JoAnn Crohn: That's true. Yeah. Well, we hope you enjoyed our interview with Dr. Katie Davis and go check out Technology's child for some more really great action steps that you can take.

Especially we didn't even get into the discussion with teenagers and social media and she 

has that all in her book. So remember, the best mom is a happy mom. Take care of you. And we'll talk to you later.