This story is based on an episode of NPR’s Life Kit.
Geoff and Ellie live in a suburban Chicago neighborhood that looks familiar from movies like Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — both filmed in the area.
They have three kids — Nathan, 5, Benji, 11, and Abby, 14 — and they’re worried that all three are too into their screens.
An all-too-common experience
Ninety-eight percent of families with children now have smartphones. Young children Nathan’s age consume over two hours of media per day on average, tweens take in about six hours, and teens use their devices for nine hours a day, according to the nonprofit Common Sense Media.