Gen Z grew up in a screen-saturated world. They're vowing to raise their kids differently.

As Gen Z approaches parenting age, they say refuse to raise "iPad kids."

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Gen Z is planning to take a restrictive approach to their own kids when it comes to screens.

As a parent of three Gen Zers ages 15, 19 and 23, I spent many years fending off children begging, pleading and cajoling for screens and screen time of one sort or another. From around ages 9 to 14 with each child, I fielded question after question and complaint after complaint about them not having a phone and/or the limits my husband and I placed on their screen usage. It was exhausting to stick to our guns on that front (especially with our one child who would make an excellent lawyer). But we held the line, hoping and praying that someday they all would thank us for it.

Sure enough, each one of them has thanked us for it. Phew.

In fact, they've all started talking about how their own kids won't have any screens at all until they really need to, which is more restriction than we placed on them even.

"Good for you!" I tell my them. "And good luck." Their convictions are admirable, but little do they know that it's not as easy as it looks.

As the first full generation to be raised in the internet-enabled, screen-saturated world, Gen Z (approximately ages 11 to 26) has grown up in uncharted waters. Pretty much every adult they've ever known has carried and used a smartphone. Their educations have included hand-held screens from their earliest years, as the "edutainment" industry has exploded. Today's older kids and young adults became tech-savvy very young, they've been marketed to with various addictive apps their entire childhoods and have felt the pressures of social media throughout their formative years.

And Gen Z's parents have had to navigate those uncharted waters, raising kids in an online world we didn't have ourselves as children and struggling mightily to find a balance for them amid the digital chaos,. In an era where parents often need to work and childcare is prohibitively expensive, devices have become the easiest temporary babysitter, and a moderate amount of screen time (whatever "moderate" means) feels practically inevitable. Even the experts no longer have set screen time limit recommendations, but rather encourage parents to be conscious and engaged with what their children are using screens for. (In my former teacher opinion, there's a significant difference between setting up a child with an interactive app that teaches kids math or reading or geography and leaving a child with unbridled access to the internet.)

We also live in a world where people in general use our devices for almost everything and where sites like YouTube can be valuable tools. It's a reality that kids will not just get their own devices eventually, but will actually need to. But when, which one, how much, how often, what to limit and allow at what ages can be overwhelming questions for parents to navigate. Very few of us have managed to strike a balance that feels right. Sometimes I've worried we were being too strict and other times I worried we were too lenient. With each kid, especially when we were thrown into pandemic isolation, determining healthy screen time became more complicated.

But now that a good chunk of Gen Z are officially adults and starting to think about how they want to parent their own kids, they're surprisingly Luddite-like. After years and years of wanting screen time, getting screen time, and seeing how screen time can be filled with pitfalls, and also after observing Gen Alpha's early screen addictions, they don't want the same for their kids.

Interestingly, some Gen Zers are even trying to limit their own screen time by switching to 90s-style flip phones—or "dumb phones" as they now say.

Some are also pleading with their fellow Gen Zers to vow not to raise "iPad kids" who can't behave without having a screen shoved into their hands. Gabe Escobar garnered 25 million views with his "iPad kids" rant, with countless Gen Zers in the comments agreeing with him.


seriously pls we cant let it happen #genz #genalpha #ipadkid

And these Gen Zers aren't just kneejerk-reflex saying they don't want their kids to have screens at all. They understand that technology is a tool we all need and kids need to have access to learn how to use it. But they're watching the struggles of Gen Alpha and seeing how giving kids the excessive amount of screen time that they themselves probably begged their parents for at one point actually impacts them. It's not that they don't want their kids on screens at all, but it appears Gen Z is preparing for their parenting approach with foresight and wisdom, which is great to see.


@gabesco I am fully on board with what this creator is saying although kids having ipads is a bit inevitable at this point the real issue is regulation and parenting styles #genz #genalpha #millennial #parenting #ipadkid #greenscreenvideo #greenscreen

I just hope they're prepared for how exhausting it is to fight that battle with their kids when the time comes. But at the very least, they can speak from experience when they tell their kids that they'll thank them someday for the limits.

YouTube creator Steve Mould shows us what echo looks like through an acoustic camera.

It’s bizarre to think about seeing sound, but nowadays we can do just that. If you haven’t seen an acoustic camera before, that’s because they’re mainly used for industrial purposes, but they’ve been available commercially from gfai tech since 2001.

YouTuber Steve Mould, who has a science channel with over 2.1 million subscribers, took the complicated concept of the acoustic camera and made it easy to understand in his latest video, “Acoustic cameras can SEE sound.”

In the video, Mould explains how an acoustic camera is much like your smartphone's video recorder. But it also creates visual representations of sound emanating from where it’s generated within the video.

“They can show you where, in a scene, sound is coming from,” Mould says. The videos also allow you to isolate images within the recording and listen to any sound they produce.

The video shows how acoustic cameras are used in industrial settings for noise reduction and machine maintenance. For example, if a train is flying by at top speed, the acoustic camera can separate the sounds from each wheel as it passes. This allows engineers to analyze the sounds produced by each wheel to determine if they need to be fixed or replaced before there’s trouble.

To record the sound and visuals simultaneously, each camera has an array of strategically placed microphones to reproduce spatial information about sound. They even work in slow motion, and the echoes look amazing.

It’s not hard to imagine a world where, in addition to the video we take on our smartphones, we’ll be able to get a three-dimensional look at the soundscape as well.


March 3 is National Unplugging Day. We asked a therapist why it’s more important than ever.

"This day is a good start to learning to disconnect, to reconnect with people and the world around them."

A tired teen holding her smartphone

Just mentioning the idea of taking a break from their smartphones gives some folks a rush of anxiety. What if I get a text? What if I miss breaking news on Twitter? What if that special someone finally slides into my DMs?

The stress is real. But turning off our phones and taking a break has incredible health benefits. A report published in Psychology Today found that just turning off our phones for one hour a day before bed can improve your sleep quality and sex life, and gets you out the door faster in the morning.

To help people find a better balance with the all-pervasive technology in their lives, March 3 has been designated the National Day of Unplugging (NDU). “The idea behind the day was to challenge people to keep their electronic devices unplugged and unused for 24 hours in order to give themselves the chance to take a break and spend time relaxing with family, friends, or alone,” Days of the Year says.

Rebooting, a Jewish organization, initially started NDU as an outgrowth of the Sabbath Manifesto that encourages carving out one day per week to unwind, unplug, relax, reflect, get outdoors and connect with loved ones.

smartphone addiction, mental health, unplugging

A smartphone user scrolling through an app

via Pexels

To learn more about the importance of unplugging, Upworthy spoke with Jennifer Kelman, a licensed clinical social worker, certified professional coach and JustAnswer.com mental health expert, on the importance of taking the occasional tech break.

Kelman sees the problems associated with tech addiction every day in her practice.

“We all need more than a day to unplug, but one day is a good start,” Kelman told Upworthy. “Our device use is controlling our lives, and we are losing the ability to interact with each other. Relationships are suffering as the devices are interfering with our interpersonal interactions and time spent together.”

While taking a tech break may stress some people out, it’s worth considering the stress that technology already has us fighting.

“We are more anxious and depressed as we doom scroll on social media and see the ‘perfect lives’ of others. There is no longer the work day, as now people are required to be accessible at all times,” Kelman told Upworthy. “Our relationships are suffering as we ignore our partners and family as the addiction to our device takes up most of our waking, and sometimes even our sleeping lives. People can't even turn their phones off and are checking their phones in the middle of the night.”

Kelman believes that we need to choose people over technology and that NDU is a great way to bring that to people’s attention.

smartphone addiction, mental health, unplugging

A woman staring at her phone at a party

via Pexels

“This day is a good start to learning to disconnect, to reconnect with people and the world around them,” Kelman told Upworthy. “It is not enough, though, as the mental health of all of us is suffering, and we continue to choose to give our mental health over to technology, smartphones and social media. It behooves all of us to make a different choice and choose healthy interpersonal relationships and communication over technology and social media.”

In the end, it’s all about balance.

“There can be a time and place for device use and social media scrolling, but it should be in moderation and one should do a self-check to see how they feel when they are on social media and using their devices,” Kelman continued. “If you are aware that you are anxious and depressed, do all you can to limit the use of devices, technology and social media.”


New Texas restaurant has a strict 'no cellphones allowed' policy. Let’s hope it starts a trend.

"If you can't possibly deal without your phone for two hours, this is not the place for you.”

Chef Tim Love at Caterina's.

In the mid-2000s, people were so eager to adopt smartphone technology that we never had time to create any etiquette for using it. Now, two decades later, it’s acceptable for people to stare at their phones when others are around, even in social situations. It's also fine to take any event and turn it into little more than an excuse to create social media content.

But in 2022, the constant notifications can feel a lot more like an annoyance than a blessing. Further, these tiny interruptions take us out of the moment and prevent us from paying attention to our friends, a good meal or a show.

Studies show that having a cellphone in your pocket can make you feel more stressed, but when we don’t have our phone on us we experience a sense of anxiety as well. Smartphones, can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

Smartphones have become such an interruption that some concert venues and comedy clubs have adopted a new system that locks phones in a pouch and they can only be opened in case of an emergency or when the show is over.

The system is great because it prevents others from being distracted by the guy in front who wants to film every moment and also allows you to enjoy the show instead of feeling pressured to take photos or text your friends.

Tim Love, a chef who owns several restaurants in the Fort Worth area, thinks it’s time we enjoy smartphone-free dining, too. According to a report by NBC Dallas-Fort Worth, customers at his new Italian restaurant, Caterina's in Fort Worth, will be required to pack their phones away into small bags while they eat.

"The hostess gives each guest a pouch to put their phone in and the pouch stays with the guest the whole dinner,” Love told Paper City.

"We're going to kindly ask them to put their phone in the bag,” Love said. “We've already had that happen. Some people forget. They just have their phone in their pocket. We give them the bag. They put their phone in the bag. It's not a big deal."

The idea is to create a place where people can disconnect and pay attention to their friends, fellow diners, the ambiance and food without being distracted by technology.

"If you can't possibly deal without your phone for two hours, this is not the place for you,” Love told NBC. “I mean, people go to movies, they don't get on their phone."

The restaurant has a swanky ’40s and ’50s vibe and, to keep things classy, men are required to wear sport coats. Love has made the restaurant's old-school bright-red rotary landline available to anyone who needs to be reachable during their dinner. If a diner receives a call, the staff will walk over to their table with the phone.

The meals are served at a slower pace to help people relax. “At Caterina’s guests will be treated to a multi-course meal,” Love told Paper City. “It’s slow dining, or what I like to call analog dining where the entire experience encourages you to slow down. There will be lots of little surprises throughout the meal.”

Bud Kennedy from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says the smartphone-free restaurant encourages people to socialize.

“Tables talking to tables—[patrons] making new friends—the vibe is so great,” Kennedy said.

We rushed into the new world of smartphones so quickly that we didn’t have a chance to figure out how far we should go. Now that we’ve had smartphones in our pockets for 15-plus years, many of us are starting to realize what we’ve lost due to the change in technology.

Kudos to Love for creating an environment that fosters human connection. Hopefully, others will run with the idea and we can start to find a better balance between digital technology and our natural environment.