Parents band together to discuss how to get kids and adults off their devices: Part 6

Parents and behavioral experts swap tips for how to reduce screen time for the whole family, from setting up a schedule to starting a conversation.
6:52 | 05/04/19

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Transcript for Parents band together to discuss how to get kids and adults off their devices: Part 6
Across the country tonight, the rumble of parents coming together. We're there at a school in Kansas City, Kansas as parents join forces. 2,000 people now banding together in this city and it started with a few moms exchanging ideas on Facebook. We have so many different sectors of the community, be it the business community, the police department, pediatricians. The youth minister is here. So is the county director of mental health. Hi, I'm Diane. So good to see you. The first thing everyone agrees is that they can tell the truth here. No one sits in judgment. I used the iPad as a babysitter just to get things down. I'm fighting that battle. I have an 18-month-old, and so, you know, it's really big right now when you're out at a restaurant you can give them their device and you kind of look like a good parent because your kid's quiet. And you're kind of chasing and running and wrestling. This is one of the founding members of the group. She's a family therapist. There's, like, no wisdom from the ages that has been passed down because we are the first generation raising the first set of children who will prefer texting over talking. And the objective tonight is for everyone in the room to create a kind of modern village and maybe help each other towards some common goals for their kids. An occasional screen free party, and talking to each other when you're in the car and the car pools, not on screens. The people at this gathering say they're all for technology. They just want to make more room for life, connection. We can start making it so they're not the only kid that's not on Snapchat and they're not the only kid that's not on Facebook. And making kids not be the lonely kid. This group calls themselves start. They have a sticker for their phones, a clear signal to others in town you're taking a stand for your kids and maybe also a look at yourself. I'm just curious. How many of you know you spend way too much time on your phones? Nearly everyone. This is a video from that family advisory group common sense media. I started smoking. I love you too, sweetheart. I'm selling bongs out of our minivan. I got a tramp stamp. I'm cooking meth in the basement. Great idea, kiddo, that's why you're so popular at school. I mean, how many of us have intentionally not been on our devices 'cause we don't want to be the ones filmed on our devices? So how do families begin creating the balance they want in their lives? For months now, ABC news has been contacting experts all around the country asking for their advice. Nearly every one of them told us it's important to start setting some family boundaries around screen time when your kids are young. They know once your kids get older, it can be rough. Two weeks without it, their behavior is actually just more chill and calm, and they aren't as quick to aggression. After the initial aggression. But one of the experts we contacted has well, some consolation for anyone who thinks they made a mistake. I'm an industry insider. I teach companies how to use these techniques. This is writer, teacher nir eyal who says even he made a mistake with his little girl. One of my daughter's first words after daddy was "iPad time." iPad time? iPad time. iPad time. We gave too much too soon. But then we learned. He says when she was five they had their family conversation about what they could all be doing together if they weren't on screens. So we asked her, "How much time would you like to spend on this particular form of media?" And I thought she was gonna say, "Three hours." "All day." She said, "Two episodes." 45 minutes. And that's the very same rule that she had today at 10 years old. Today, eyal is using his expertise to help families in a new book called "Indistractable." He says a family schedule can be a surprisingly simple and effective help. After dinner around 8:00 I have one hour of social media time. It's in my calendar. And like so many so many other experts, he said, "We'll all get there together, but let's just take a deep breath." The gut reaction, of course, is blame. Right? It's some other factors. I would say the gut reaction is exhaustion. That was the message we had heard from so many people around the country who said they're overwhelmed and feel they don't have a lot of options. Anybody would want a nanny but we have to figure out other ways. It's like a babysitter to us. It really calms the kids down, and just having them watching videos. So we ask advice from Anita Charles, education expert, professor at bates college in Maine who has five kids of her own. She says she understands. If I'm talking with somebody and say, "Look, I'm overwhelmed. This is keeping this child quiet for a little while. I say, "I get that." That makes total sense to me. But I also think that maybe that parent needs a community of people to talk to about this. She also hopes schools, churches, community will join in in the conversation. Supporting more balance, more health, physical activity and sleep for kids. I think they don't need perfect parents. They need parents who are engaged in the journey and trying to figure it out. She says maybe it's worth remembering how many times we've been through upheavals before. Back in 1954, big headlines, congressional hearings, there was a $100 million industry flooding kids with something that had parents terrified. The crisis was over comic books. Not just the images. All that time kids were spending on them. It's very upsetting, that it has a bad moral effect. He could have played baseball, but he chose the comic book instead. My gang used to huddle too. We tried to figure out how we could build a raft to use on the river. We roasted potatoes. And professor Charles says we know American kids are very resilient, and it's possible they can teach us about balancing life in this new future. What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a lawyer. A scientist. An actor. Either a teacher or a spy. I wonder what they want to be when they grow up? Who? Like the people who are watching this. A friend of mine was working on a computer, and her child, who was maybe 3 or 4 at the time said, "Mommy, mommy, mommy. Mommy." Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Yes, honey. And finally he reached up, and he took her face, and he turned it, and he said, "I need you to listen with your whole face." And I've remembered that for years. And I often have said to my children, to myself, to my partner, "Listen with your whole face. Listen with your whole face."

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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