Ask the Experts: Tiffany Shlain

Dr. Elizabeth Milovidov
January 11, 2022

In the sixth installment of FOSI’s Ask the Expert series, Dr. Elizabeth Milovidov spoke with Tiffany Shlain about her concept of a “Technology Shabbat” and the importance of taking time away from screens each week to create and restore balance to your family life. 

Tiffany Shlain is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, founder of the Webby Awards, and author of the national bestselling book 24/6: Giving up Screens One Day a Week to Get More Time, Creativity, and Connection, winner of the Marshall McLuhan Outstanding Book Award. For information on her films and work, visit tiffanyshlain.com and follow Tiffany on Twitter,  Instagram, and Facebook.

How can parents today implement your Technology Shabbat and really take time off from their screens?

Parenting is so much about modeling behavior. If you really want to try it in your household it starts with  the parents. Have a family meeting and make it sound like a fun experiment. The key thing is to ask everyone in the family what they love to do most (off-screens) and fill the day with that. Don’t start the meeting by saying we’re going to turn off screens for a day. Instead tell them we’re going to fill the day with your favorite things. It will become your family’s favorite day.

What strategies do you recommend to deal with resistance from your family?

It is harder with older kids, it really is. They’re already glued to their phones and you have to work harder to make it fun. Framing it as what they’ll get instead of what they’ll lose is very important.

How can giving up your screens one day a week truly benefit you and your family?

I’m 51 years old and it’s simply the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and my family. Everyone returns to themselves on Shabbat and we connect in a way we don’t during the week. We’ve done it for ten years and I continue to marvel at how much of a reset it is for the household.

Written by

Dr. Elizabeth Milovidov

Dr. Elizabeth Milovidov is a lawyer from California, a law professor in Paris, France and a Digital Safety Consultant in Europe. Using her European/American focus on Internet, technology and social media issues, she researches solutions to empower parents to guide their children in the digital age.  As Project Consultant, she will bring her experience in digital parenting, wellbeing and safety to FOSI's Good Digital Parenting.

She is the founder of DigitalParentingCoach.com, a website and community with resources and strategies for parents. Currently, she also provides support as an independent consultant for the Council of Europe (Children’s Rights and Education departments), Microsoft (Digital Safety) and e-Enfance (Child online protection). She is an international speaker on digital parenting and safety and her work has been featured in BBC, France 24, WSJ, Internet Matters and other media outlets and organizations focused on child online safety and digital parenting.