The reality is, screens aren’t going away—ever. When at work, about 64 percent of adults use a computer to access the Internet, use software programs and check email; almost

60 percent of workers also use a mobile phone. Children spend time on computers or tablets at school and then come home and want to unwind by watching TV or playing video games.

But screens aren’t necessarily bad, says Eric Rasmussen, PhD, a researcher at Texas Tech University, blogger at ChildrenAndMediaMan.com and author of Media Maze: Unconventional Wisdom for Guiding Children Through Media (Plain Sight, 2017). He believes that helping kids “navigate the increasingly complex media environment” is the most difficult job adults have today.

A number of his blog posts offer tips for limiting or reducing screen time, but he’s realistic about the issue.

“Some media is good, and some is bad,” he says. “We all need help making good media choices, both in terms of content and time spent with media.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggests screen-time limits for each age group and advises parents to prioritize unplugged time over screen time, also acknowledges that, when used wisely, digital media can help children “create, connect and learn.” A study from the Mount Sinai Health System in New York reported that video gamers make better surgeons. Similar studies tout the benefits for all ages, like connecting with friends and family across the miles, improving motor skills and coordination, learning marketable technology skills and easily tracking important health-related stats like calories eaten or steps taken in a day.

Digital devices also provide motivation and opportunities to communicate better with your teen. When Delaney Ruston, MD, noticed her teenager was spending too much time online, she didn’t wrestle for control. Instead, she created a movie. Ruston’s documentary Screenagers: Growing up in the Digital Age offers parents and teens simple strategies on how to decrease screen time and its dangerous consequences. Subscribe to Ruston’s Tech Talk Tuesdays and receive tips on how to start conversations about social media use and video gaming (go to screenagersmovie.com). “It’s important to get our teens to talk about it, not fight over it,” she says. “To be effective, we need to involve our kids in making rules.”

It’s essential to find a healthy screen-time balance that works for a child’s or adult’s needs—a digital sweet spot. Bryant, who limits her children’s screen time, says that video-chatting with Grandma never counts against the set limits. “Connecting that way is much too important to my daughters and to my mother.”

Roberts works at setting screen-time limits for herself as well as for her children; she knows she’ll feel much more rested if she can refrain from being on her phone at bedtime, and she certainly won’t be watching six nonstop hours of action films again anytime soon. But she also understands that screens are an inevitable part of life, so she enjoys the benefits when she can—like reconnecting with old friends on Facebook, shopping online when she can’t get to a store and searching the Internet for new recipes.

Rasmussen understands this, too. “If we are going to be immersed in a technological world,” he says, “we should be getting the most out of the good technology that exists.”