Tech-Savvy Parent:Part 1

If technology seems to be eating away your time and your attention, this series of Facebook posts I shared in February and March, 2019 are GREAT resources for you!  I spend day after day working with amazing people – teens, young adults, parents and couples – who are all struggling to sleep, focus, connect and feel heard in their relationships.  It always seems to come down to…TECHNOLOGY

We love it.  And we hate it.  We love a quick “I love you” text, and absolutely come unglued by attacks and arguments that stream through our phones.  We keep hearing “put away your screens before you sleep” or “we’re rewiring our brains through this overuse of technology”, yet we can’t quite seem to stop ourselves from one. last. peek.

Here is the first of four conversations to have with your family, your partner, or even yourself about technology.  Look. Up. was my campaign to put DOWN the phone and look UP into the eyes of those you love and the life you’re living right now.

I hope you’ll find the background resources and the questions I pose helpful in rethinking what small changes you might want to do right now to live in connected, attached and life-affirming relationships!  Enjoy!

Look. Up.


How to talk about CONNECTION in a world of “Friend” and “Like” and Streaks.

There is just SO MUCH to say about how connection looks and acts and feels these days…and brain science will say that the statistics of increased depression and anxiety and loneliness make complete sense in a world where “friend” means someone you may or may not know…”talking” means texting…and sometimes “dating” means texting or snap chatting. We feel great when our posts get “LIKES”…an actual surge of dopamine raises our sense of belonging and happiness. AND we have disappointment and actual feelings of isolation, sadness when no one “Likes” our posts or we get blocked by someone. Because the reality is that there is actually very little connection in all the work our thumbs are doing throughout the day.


  1. Here is some compelling research about the impact of social media on depression, anxiety and an increased sense of isolation. The fact is that the more we use social media to have a sense of being “seen” or connected in the world, the higher risk we have of negative emotional consequences.

  1. Here are some TED talks that might be really helpful to think and rethink your/your family’s use of social media:…/4-inspiring-ted-talks-that-will-help-…


REMINDER: Conversations ARE NOT lectures. To be fully engaged in the convo, it’s important that everyone has access to the same information. That can either be an agreement that everyone involved will read or watch/listen to the information. OR it might be that one person reads and shares the findings they discovered in the research.

REMINDER: Everyone LISTENS as much as they TALK.

REMINDER: “Taking away” technology will never work. Trust me. BUT making agreements after listening to each other about the importance of social media will work. Try an hour without screens (HINT: one hour prior to bedtime is a good sleep hygiene choice!) before you try a full day.

REMINDER: Don’t have these conversations after someone is in trouble and they are mad, without their phone and shut down. Pouting and silence really don’t make for fun conversations. And I’m not just talking about teens!

Questions to talk about

*Who are your friends? Who is in your close support system? 

(Think of a three-ring bull’s eye. The inner circle is the 2 – 4 close friends and family members who are able to support in real ways. I call them “airport friends”. know, the people close enough that you can ask them to drive you to the airport without offering money. The second ring is work and school and church and good friends. The third ring is people that know you but may not be your “go to” people when you need something. THESE FRIENDS SHIFT ALL THE TIME! And that’s a really important convo to have as well.

Are you up to date on your teens’ friends? Your partner’s friends? Your own friends? My inner circle has changed pretty dramatically in the last 6 months. THIS IS GOOD CONVERSATION!
NOTE: There’s a false belief that says you “have” to have tens of best friends to be happy. NO! Some people feel fully supported with a 2-3 people inner circle.
NOTE2: Family may not be in the inner circle. Again, that’s super healthy and normal if it’s true.

*What’s our honest time on social media these days?When are our highest use times – look at time of day (there’s a LOT of late night activity going on!) and even days of week and of course, emotional and stress level connections.

*Of your “Friends” or “Snapchat Streaks”, who really knows you?Who do you see and spend time with regularly? Who are connections or people you’ve never met but started following you/you followed them?

*What are the benefits and down falls of “Like” and “Friend” and “Streaks”?How honest am I/are you in your posts? Have you noticed highly curated/only the good stuff showing people on your social media?

*What would it be like to give up social media one day a week? one day a month? one hour a day?What would it be like to have a meal or go somewhere or have a party and NOT post?

NOTE: If you are parents and asking teens/young adults to give up social media, you need to know and understand their world of “streaks”. Ask them about it and have them figure out an option for the day off technology.

NOTE 2: Don’t take a day off tech without 100% participation as a family…everyone needs to communicate prior to the day with important others that they won’t be on their phones/screens/games. ALSO…don’t forget to plan CONNECTION and opportunities for EYE TO EYE, FACE TO FACE fun options that are replacements and positive ways to enjoy other people in person. If you are doing this as a couple or with friends, plan coffee or meals or walks or game time or…ENJOY CONNECTION!

I hope this gives you and your partner, your kids, your friends something to talk about in the upcoming days. I hope this challenges us all to LOOK. UP. and CONNECT. I hope that you actually find joy in getting the report back that you were 25% down on your screen time next week!

Need support while you’re parenting your teen or young adult?

Maybe your teen seems lost in their world of depression or anxiety, and you’re not sure how to help them right now.

Maybe your college student is sounding “different”, or they aren’t calling you back right now…you’re concerned about how to connect and support them.

enCOURAGE Counseling specializes in working with teens, college students and young adults.  Whether it’s anxiety that’s impacting school and relationships, or you’re watching your “used to be happy” kid swim in depression, I’d love to talk with you during a FREE CONSULTATION to see if therapy might be a good next step for you or them.

I offer free 15 minute phone consultations that support your search for answers and support.  Please call today:  720-230-3076.  I love watching teens and young adults who come in with anxiety, depression and even trauma leave with a sense of hope, purpose and direction!





2 thoughts on “Tech-Savvy Parent:Part 1”

  1. Marisa says:

    Thanks for the interesting and useful information.

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