Families Managing Media Helps Families Manage Screen Time

CHARLOTTE, NC —  “Giving a child or middle schooler or even a teenager a smartphone is the worst thing you can do for them,” said Families Managing Media Founder, Melanie Hempe.

Mother of four Melanie Hempe assumed her son would outgrow playing videos games non-stop, but when his habit followed him to college she knew it was time to take action.

“He said it did something to me, I’ve been in bed for a week I haven’t even left my room and then he was very depressed and it’s very common with gamers, the depression goes hand in hand,” said Hempe.

Hempe is a registered nurse and started researching and found out many parents had the same struggle.  She began communicating with physicians and neuropsychologists to learn more on the impact video games and social media has on kids’ brains. What she found lead to the start of the group “Families Managing Media”.

“Before you hand over a screen to your child you’ve got to understand very clearly what the purpose is for that,” said Hempe.

Mom of two Holley East attended one of Hempe’s workshops when she realized her five-year-old was already behaving erratically from too much screen time.

“We would tell him to get off the game and he would throw the remote control,” said East.

East also has a middle school aged daughter who she wanted to establish safety boundaries for. Hempe says they teach parents how to protect their kids on social media.

“Signs and symptoms if your daughter is really struggling with social media these are things you’re going to see, if your son struggling with gaming these are the signs,” said Hempe.

East says her son now knows screen time is off limits during the week. She continues to work with the group to help other families.

“There’s always a chance to say there’s always time to say you know what I made a mistake we need to rein things in a little bit,” said East.