The Tricky Task of Parenting with Boundaries on Technology

Manic:  Today’s mutiple technology gadgets that surround our kids.  With smart phones, tablets, social media, the internet and more…and with this way of life becoming mainstream and pretty much required to communicate in this day and age, how do we manage our kids’ technology with boundaries?

Managed:  Welcomed today’s guest writer, Dr. Lisa Strohman.  Dr. Strohman is a clinical psychologist who specializes in educating parents and children on the effects of technology overuse or addiction.  She shares her expertise on this important topic. She makes some great points here and has some helpful suggestions for us parents. And see the information that immediately follows this article about Dr. Strohman’s FREE seminar for parents who want  help working with their children to disconnect from technology.  This helpful free seminar will offer ideas on how to help kids achieve a more balanced life when it comes to life with and without all of the technology.

Dr. Strohman says:

 Boundaries with Technology: Is it possible?


How many times have we heard: “Mom, it’s an educational app! Everyone has it!”  As a Mom, I know how easy it is to give in and let kids have as much screen time as they want. As a professional, I know better.

Scientific evidence shows that spending more than two to three hours staring at a screen can have a potentially negative impact on developing brains. So what do we do when we are exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed? We find our children being exposed to more and more options for interacting with technology.

I often have parents in my office questioning whether there really is a way to create sustainable, healthy boundaries with technology. The short answer is YES! The longer answer is that it takes commitment.

The facts are daunting: 94 percent of kids are online daily and 74 percent of them use mobile devices to access social media online (outside the oversight of most parents).  Knowing what is and is not okay or safe is overwhelming for most parents. How can we set boundaries and where do we start? To help answer these questions I created a list of helpful tips on where to begin:

  • Set Time Limits

Giving kids a concrete limit on how much time they can spend online at home and on a mobile device,  gives them permission to disconnect. I have talked to plenty of parents who have kids that are actually relieved to have the excuse that their parents monitor their time online. It’s comforting for them to have an excuse to step away from technology for a little while, especially when their peers seem to be connected nonstop. For younger children, a simple digital timer gives them control in setting time limits and helps to effectively set boundaries. Older kids’ mobile Internet usage can easily be monitored through your phone company or other parental controls.


  • Establish Open Hours

This tip was given to me by a young mom who told me her son felt like his friends treated him as if he were a Circle K. They expected him to be available 24 hours a day for whatever they wanted. We talked about the amount of stress this caused him and created a plan to ask his parents if he could use them as a scape goat to tell friends that he could only use his phone between certain hours. I thought it was a great idea and have since recommended this method to multiple clients who have found success using this practice.


  • Model Balance

This can be just as big a challenge for a parent, but time and time again I’ve had kids ask me why they should limit their technology usage when their parents are always connected to technology. These comments prompted me to look at my own behavior and I recognized that I too was guilty of using technology too often. I would check my messages between math problems with my daughter, at stoplights, even at my children’s soccer practice. The more I put technology away, the more connected I felt and the more valuable conversations I could have with my kids. As parents, we have to remember we are constantly being observed and imitated by our children, so the more we model balance, the more our kids will practice it.


  • Create Tech Free Zones

This one is pretty easy to figure out, but sometimes harder to put into practice. Look around your home and see if you have any rooms that don’t have technology in them. Then, think through a typical drive with kids and see if you ever travel in town without any of you using handheld devices. Establishing tech free areas for our kids (and ourselves) can be an effective way to teach kids how to prioritize technology-free time.

Start this process by having a conversation with your family about the importance of balance with technology and show them that you are on board and ready to make changes as well. The appreciation your kids show you once you begin implementing boundaries might surprise you, and eventually they’ll come to cherish their offline time.


About our guest writer:

Dr. Lisa Strohman - Black topDr. Lisa Strohman is a clinical psychologist who specializes in educating parents and children on the effects of technology overuse or addiction.  Visit to learn more and to take her proprietary Technology Use Continuum (TUC) assessment to gauge a child’s risk for technology addiction or overuse.

Scottsdale Psychologist Speaks On How Parents Can Help Children Disconnect From Technology and Enjoy A Balanced Lifestyle

***Free seminar for parents on Monday, November 10th

WHAT:           Press Pause to Connect is the second installment from Dr. Lisa Strohman’s monthly seminar series. Dr. Lisa will educate parents on how to create a balanced family environment in an increasingly technology-driven world. A mother and clinical psychologist with over a decade of experience in counseling, Dr. Lisa will offer guidance on how to set boundaries for children while providing tips to help define the rules for pressing pause in order to keep family members connected with one another.  Founder and Director of Technology Wellness Center Dr. Lisa uses her expertise to provide resources and counseling to families and teens battling issues related to technology overuse and addiction.

WHEN:           Monday, November 10th, 2014

6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

WHERE:         LifeScape Medical Associates

8757 E. Bell Rd.

Scottsdale, Ariz. 85260

WHO:              The event is open to parents, educators and adults working with children. Light refreshments will be served.

COST:            FREE, but attendees must register by phone or email as seating is   limited.  [email protected]com or (480) 220-4702










Guest Post: Cyberbullying & What Parents Need To Know

Manic:  Today’s technology and social media can be especially manic in the hands of our youth. Sadly, one of the byproducts of today’s 24/7 online life is what is called cyberbullying.

Managed: Welcoming today’s guest writer, Dr. Lisa Strohman, a clinical psychologist who specializes in educating parents and children on the effects of technology overuse or addiction, to share her expertise on this scary subject.  Lisa not only has some great tips on t his from a professional perspective, but also as a concerned parent as we all try to navigate our parenting skills through today’s very different online world. There is some terrific information here about what to look for and what to do when it comes to cyberbullying, so definitely read this.  To my knowledge, my children have not been affected by this awful trend, but I read every word of her article so that I’m informed just in case.

And Dr. Strohman will offer a free seminar for parents called The Impact of Technology on Brain Development on Monday, October 13th.  If you are interested in attending, details on the event follow this article.

Dr. Strohman says:

Cyberbullying: What Parents Need to Know

By Dr. Lisa Strohman JD, PhD

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Bullying has always been a part of growing up, but now these bullies are able to follow children into their homes, hiding behind the Internet. Thanks to 24/7 connections anyone can be a victim of cyberbullying. Zelda Williams, Robyn Williams’ daughter was recently driven away from her social media accounts after being harassed on Twitter and Instagram following the death of her father.

The definition of cyberbullying can vary, but any child that is harassed, humiliated, embarrassed, tormented, threatened, or otherwise targeted by another minor using technology would be considered a victim of cyberbullying. As a parent, I am terrified by what is occurring and as a professional psychologist I am committed and focused on providing tools and resources to help other parents understand the often dark and secret world our children are exposed to.

Statistics on Cyberbullying

  • Nearly one in four teens has experienced cyberbullying
  • Approximately one in six teens have admitted to cyberbullying others
  • Only 1 in 10 teens tell their parents if they have been a victim of cyberbullying

What Makes a Child Prone to Becoming a Cyberbully

  • Low self-esteem
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Feelings of anger or frustration
  • Peer pressure from friends

Signs Your Child is Cyberbullying Others

  • Avoids discussion about what they are doing online
  • Gets unusually agitated if their computer access is restricted
  • Uses multiple online accounts

Signs Your Child is Being Cyberbullied

  • Unexpectedly stops using the computer
  • Appears nervous when receiving text messages, emails or other online notifications
  • Appears angry, depressed or frustrated after going online
  • Becomes withdrawn from friends and family members

What You Can Do

  • Create a feeling of trust between you and your child
  • Assure your child if they come to you they will not lose their access to technology

Finally, understand that technology is an amazing tool and gift that we are privileged to have access to. It is about teaching balance, establishing open communication, and loving your children enough to question and talk through the issues they will face online. For more information on what protections are in place in your state you can refer to


About our guest writer:

Dr. Lisa Strohman - Black topDr. Lisa Strohman is a clinical psychologist who specializes in educating parents and children on the effects of technology overuse or addiction.  Visit to learn more and to take her proprietary Technology Use Continuum (TUC) assessment to gauge a child’s risk for technology addiction or overuse.

 Details on Free Seminar:



Free seminar for parents Monday, October 13th

 WHAT:           Brain Rewired will be the first seminar in the monthly seminar series hosted by Dr. Lisa Strohman, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Technology Wellness Center. The philosophy of Technology Wellness Center is to approach the issue of technology addiction in a comprehensive holistic way that provides practical solutions instead of diagnostic labels. Dr. Lisa will discuss how technology is affecting the development of children’s brains and share insight on what parents need to know and tips on what they can do. Presentation includes an assessment tool for parents to measure their child’s risk related to technology use.  Dr. Lisa will be joined by Dr. Melissa Westendorf, co-founder of the Technology Wellness Center. Light refreshments will be served.

WHEN:           Monday, October 13th, 2014 – 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

WHERE:         LifeScape Medical Associates @ 8757 E. Bell Rd. in Scottsdale, Ariz. 85260

WHO:             The event is open to parents, educators and adults working with children. Registration is required, as there will be limited seating available.

COST:             FREE, but attendees must register by email or by phone, as seating is limited so email to

                        [email protected]com or call (480) 220-4701