Tech-Life Balance: Guidelines and strategies for digital well-being

Tech Life Balance

Here’s one more reason to limit the amount of time your child is spending in front of a screen: social media could be reprogramming children’s brains and making them hooked on “likes,” according to a new study out of the University of North Carolina.

Published in JAMA Pediatrics, the study is important because social media platforms provide adolescents with unprecedented opportunities for social interactions during a critical developmental period when the brain is especially sensitive to social feedback.

The results of this cohort study suggest that social media checking behaviors in early adolescence may be associated with changes in the brain’s sensitivity to social rewards and punishments.

Expert Taíno Bendz, whose forthcoming book Tech-Life Balance provides guidelines and strategies for digital well-being, commented on the study: “This recent study shines a light on one side of the challenge with screens and children, namely how excessive social media use impacts our children’s brains and can cause them to become over sensitive to feedback from peers. Social feedback is part of our nature, but can be crippling if the avoidance of negative feedback or the hunt for positive reinforcement takes over our lives.”

Bendz recommends the following for parents concerned about the impact of technology on their children:

  • Look at your own situation and at the behavior of your child. Do you feel like they have an unhealthy relationship with social media? Are they focusing too much on feedback from peers?
  • Ask them how they feel. What do they like about social media? What do they dislike? Would they like to change anything?
  • Based on what comes out of the above, slowly start introducing small habit changes. And don’t forget – you have to be a role model and change too.

Bendz further advises that “small changes can make a big difference in tech-life balance, and if your child is struggling we shouldn’t wait for research to catch up before acting.”


Taíno Bendz is the founder of Phone Free Day and his own consulting business, and his message on mindful and intentional technology usage has reached and inspired hundreds of thousands of people around the world. He is a public speaker, workshop facilitator, and conducts research on digital technology usage. Taíno holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering and Management and has spent the last 10 years working in technology sectors such as renewable energy, healthcare IT, and software automation.

By Holly Grant