Teenagers Translated: How To Raise Happy Teens

03/02/2015 16:05 | Updated 20 May 2015

Teenagers looking at phones and tablets

Talking to teen parenting gurus Janey Downshire and Naella Grew is depressing, to say the least.

Don't get me wrong – they are charming, sensible, full-of-solid-advice experts in their field. But the image they paint of how our teens are sleep-walking into a lifetime of being unable to concentrate on anything long-term, be that reading a book or watching a screen, is simply terrifying.

I spoke to the women, who boast six teens between them, about the emergence (in my own household too), of TV-watching youngsters who keep only one eye on the big screen, whilst flicking through umpteen other screens on their i-pad/mobile/tablet/lap-top/other.

"A teenager's brain is naturally programmed to seek out the most exciting and novel of things, so it's understood they will be looking at different screens and sources of information at this stage," explains Naella.

"But it's crucial that they also need to start training their brain to linger, to concentrate, to really focus and process information – because this state of constant sensory overload and hyper-arousal of the brain is not actually helpful," she says.

My heart sinks further when Janey, who with Naella has co-authored '

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