Guest Speaker Anya Kamenentz

Visiting Speaker Anya Kamenetz Sparks Conversation on The Art of Screen Time
Our Parents Association and Library Tech Commons partnered to bring Anya Kamenetz, education correspondent for NPR and author of the book The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life to Allen-Stevenson. Fifth-grade boys and older with an adult chaperone were invited to attend along with parents and faculty and staff.
In this book, Ms. Kamenetz takes a practical approach to parenting in a world where screens are everywhere. In conducting research for the book, she surveyed a range of experts and fellow parents to learn more about how they manage screens at home, both for their children and themselves. Through her research and analysis, she comes to this conclusion: Enjoy Screens. Not too much. Mostly with others.
Parents came together the next morning to compare takeaways from Ms. Kamenetz’s presentation and to discuss how our Allen-Stevenson community can apply this new-found knowledge to make positive changes within our families and our community.
Among many topics, parents discussed using screens alongside children to create opportunities for conversation, bonding, and intergenerational understanding. For example, one parent voiced concern over her children playing video games with chat room features that allow discourse with other players. Another parent echoed her concern and said that she finds it helpful to sit down and play the game with her sons to “test drive” whether it is appropriate. This communal usage can also open the gates for ethical conversations if the video game contains sensitive content, like violence.
Ultimately, however, the group agreed that there is no right or wrong answer to the screen time dilemma that modern parents face. Children are unique individuals with different dispositions and self-regulation skills, and every family has different dynamics.