How to Help Adolescents Navigate the “Digital Infinity” | Liza Garonzik | 10 Min Read

May 25, 2023

Balancing life on and off “screen” is a defining project of what it means to be human in today’s tech-centric world. Questions abound: can you build fulfilling relationships fully on-screen? How “real” is your digital presence? How much do influencers influence your life? How do you appreciate the world in front of you when virtually you can be anywhere? How much is too much screentime? 

These are questions adults are trying hard to figure out — while simultaneously answering them for their children. This is an inordinate, perhaps unprecedented, challenge for parents and educators, especially those of adolescents. And as each new report on teen mental health makes clear: the stakes couldn’t be higher

But here’s what I see as the biggest issue: we aren’t talking honestly enough about the absurdity of the task. Instead, we are operating as if it is doable and expected for adults to effectively regulate an adolescent’s digital life. We need to step back and ask: is this even possible in the first place? 

As an educator and researcher, I think the fundamental, and terrifying, answer to this question is no. Given that, we need a new strategy for teens and tech — and…

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Liza Garonzik

Liza Garonzik is the Founder of R.E.A.L. Discussion, a program that trains faculty to (re)teach Gen-Z students the discussion skills they need for success in learning — and real life. Her work is informed by an interdisciplinary research base and experience as a student, teacher, administrator, and trustee in diverse independent schools. Get in touch at [email protected] — there's little she loves more than a great conversation!