Posts by


Julie started as a Pinwheel customer, and after realizing the positive effect the smartphone had on her child, she left her corporate position at a Fortune 250 company to support Pinwheel's growth. In addition to her role as Pinwheel's content marketing manager, she hosts the Screen Time Stories podcast.

The Smartphone Epidemic: Alarming Statistics on Teen Phone Usage

Phones serve many purposes, like creating connections with family and friends, providing entertainment and, unfortunately, often serving as a permanent prop in our children's stories.

Kids and smartphones seem inseparable, and a new report from Common Sense Media validates that feeling. The research aimed to understand the roles and impacts of media and technology in kids' lives---hearing directly from the kids themselves. This new report bridges an important gap in understanding how teenagers use their smartphones.

 "Teens told us that the draw of their smartphone is both complicated and powerful," Common Sense Media states in their press release. "They're managing a barrage of notifications from the apps on their phones—buzzing almost constantly." 

Working with kids aged 11 to 17, the study unveils the digital phenomenon that's become deeply ingrained in our society.

Phone Use During School Hours: A Shocking 97%

School policies differ widely across the nation, and while it would be great if 97% of kids are picking up their phones to check their grades or use the calculator function, the details share a different story. Most of the apps used were social media, video games, and YouTube. 

For my school, we do have a phone policy and we're not technically allowed to have it out during class, but a lot of people do in spite of that. And definitely, I think if you track kids at my school, their phone usage, you would definitely see them checking their phones, and then checking Snapchat during class.

—10th grader


Late-Night Phone Obsession: 60% Awake During Bedtime Hours

The study found that 60% of kids aged 11 to 17 were wide awake and glued to their screens during the witching hours, specifically between midnight and 5 a.m. Research on the negative effects that sleep deprivation has on overall well-being and academic performance is clearly documented. 

I might say that for certain apps, like TikTok, it's really hard to fall asleep once you use it close to when you're gonna go to sleep. I can't use it within an hour, or else I'd struggle … and then I'll just get back on the app 'cause I'm not sleeping anyway.

—10th grader


Notification Overload: 237 Pings a Day

Imagine your phone buzzing, pinging, and chiming relentlessly throughout the day. For more than 50% of kids in this study, that's their reality, receiving almost 10 notifications per hour each day. Some teens reported receiving 4,500 notifications per day.

Snapchat and Discord have mastered the art of keeping teens tethered to their screens with an incessant stream of alerts and updates, showcasing the competitive nature of the tech industry, where user engagement is key to success.

Yeah, for me, I have notifications on for the apps that are messaging apps, but then for the other ones, I don't have notifications on for YouTube or Instagram … For me, I don't like the notifications that just tell you to go back on the app or just something random like that, like an update or something. I don't really care about those ones. But the ones I do like getting are the ones that are from the messaging apps, like if someone sends me a text, I wanna know what it says.

—10th grader


The TikTok Phenomenon: Why Teens Just Can't Resist

One platform has managed to capture the hearts and minds of teenagers by offering bite-sized pleasure and effortless interaction, all seamlessly tailored to the user's interests and mood. 50% of participants had TikTok installed on their phones, and they weren't just casual users. On average, these teens spent a median of one hour and 52 minutes per day on the platform while some clocked in upwards of seven hours daily.

The app's algorithm quickly adapts to the individual's preferences, serving up content that aligns with their interests or current mood, all while catering to the modern attention span with short, snappy videos.


Unveiling the Dark Side of Young Kids on Smartphones

Read More

Three Ways to Create a Village for Your Teens on Social Media

In the era of technology, social media has woven into the lives of teens and sometimes even younger children. While engaging online can have a positive influence on teens' growth through learning and connections, parents need to address the hazards and big picture in order to raise healthy, happy teens. 

Read More

11 Tips to Guide Your Teen's Social Media Experience

Before introducing your teen to social media, give them a solid foundation with Pinwheel, the phone that grows with your child. Pinwheel lets parents monitor and guide their child’s digital interactions, and allows for a gradual introduction to texting, screen time limits, and gaming. In other words, it lets your child master the basics without exposure to the harms of social media.

Read More

My Middle School Kid Wants Social Media

These days, it's hard for parents to avoid social media. You probably use it, your friends use it, and chances are your kids use it too. More and more young children are joining social media platforms, even though the US Surgeon General warned that it may harm mental health. 

If your teen is ready to sign up for their first social media platform, there are some simple ways to keep them safe online. According to psychologists, the key is education and awareness. But before diving into that, run through this list to make sure your child is ready.

Read More

Irish Town Bans Smartphones for Youngsters

A small town in Ireland banded together to say "no" to smartphones for young kids. It started with the primary schools in Gresytones, and now parents are embracing the benefits of combatting peer pressure and protecting children from the potential negative effects of smartphones, like anxiety and exposure to inappropriate content. The town-wide policy reduces the likelihood of children feeling left out and allows parents to present the ban as a collective decision. Ireland's health minister has even recommend it as a nationwide policy. 

Read More

Celebrities Refuse Social Media for Their Kids

What do Kate Winslet, Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Penelope Cruz, Pink,  Mayim Biallik, and Matt LeBlanc all have in common (besides being gorgeous and famous)? They're each ahead of their time, parenting with their intuition instead of following the crowd. Each of these celebrities chose to not allow their teen on social media platforms---a bold choice coming ahead of the United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy stating that social media could pose a risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.

Read More

Summer Break or Summer Slide?

Summer brings up such fond memories, but the transition can throw a lot of kids (and their parents!) for a loop. The abrupt switch from the hectic school year to summer break feels like cannonballing into a pool for the first time, and the quick change can cause issues.

Read More

Summer Break: Kids Need Friends

It goes without saying that kids need to stay connected to their friends, and summertime is the perfect opportunity for kids to hone their social skills. During the school year, children sit with friends at lunch and run with the crowd at recess. But in the summer, those opportunities don't come naturally; it takes a bit of work to consider the when, where, and whom! By allowing our kids to take the reins on this, they're learning crucial social skills that will set the stage for their adult relationships.  

Through research, we know that “exposure to positive experiences, settings, and people, as well as opportunities to gain and refine life skills, supports young people in the acquisition and growth of [their] assets”. Let's try to break this down further.

Read More

Summer Break: Connecting with Your Kids

Summer is just around the corner, and our kids are counting down how they'll spend three months free from homework, standardized tests, and hours in the classroom. While most parents don't have the same break as their kids, it's still a great opportunity to get to know your child and help them transition into the new season. 

Read More

How Music Enhances Learning

Just whistle while your work. Or ask your smart speaker to crank up the tunes while you clean. Music not only gets adults in the right headspace to focus on a task, but kids as well. Next time your child is prepping for a big test, encourage them to turn on some background music to boost their brain function. Research shows that music can impact emotions and thought processes, which can help lower stress before a test and contribute to focus. 

Read More