Diana Smith is growing so concerned about the potential perils of technology on kids’ psyches and behavior that she devised a refreshing solution this summer.

Smith, principal at the Washington Latin Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., challenged her eighth- and ninth-grade students to put down their phones, laptops, tablets and video game consoles for the 11 Tuesdays of summer.

Whoever gave ’em up successfully, confirmed in writing by two adult testimonies, would get $100.

Smith funded the deal by canceling her own cable TV service. Of 160 students, 78 attempted the challenge and 38 succeeded. Smith is $3,400 poorer (four students declined the cash) but richer in hope.

“I’ve had kids say that they realize that they can always rely on their own thoughts,” Smith said. “They can think more. They know what it feels like now to not have to reach for the phone.”

It’s a rare parent of a tween or teen who doesn’t worry about kids’ uber-usage of social media. It’s also a rare kid who doesn’t know on some level that he or she is too reliant.

It’s just so hard to shut it off.

And parents are hardly the best role models. In fact, Smith heard from many parents who said they could not do the challenge, “or didn’t even want to try. … They use work as an excuse.”

While Washington Latin serves students in grades five through 12, Smith cooked up the plan specifically for middle-schoolers. First, she hoped to lessen “the drama that the girls engage in over the phones.”

Her other big concern is sleep, something these students are not getting. “The boys and girls text each other at 3 or 4 in the morning,” she said.

Smith explained that each student needed to assume responsibility for figuring out the challenges posed by not having access to screens for 24 hours every Tuesday.

“For example,” she explained, “if you have Latin summer school and a video is assigned in class Tuesday for the next day, a student could wake up early to watch that video.”

She did allow for a few exceptions, such as receiving calls from parents or guardians. But call a friend to chat? Nope.

The idea, she explained, “is for you to discipline yourself. It is like fasting … to feel and understand what happens to your life when you go without. Live without the screens for a day a week and see what happens.”

Guess what? A lot happened.

They baked and read and hung out with friends. “One family had a huge water fight,” Smith said.

Smith knew that offering cash for good behavior would raise eyebrows.

“My faculty’s mouths were open,” she said. “I’m always lecturing them about not bribing the students. But I don’t know what else would work. I’m not sure anything else would work. I had to go extreme.”

Even Melinda Gates, a former developer at Microsoft and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, recently checked in with her own struggles around raising 21st-century teens.

In a thoughtful essay, she wrote that “phone apps aren’t good or bad in themselves, but they can exacerbate the difficulties of growing up.”

Parents also might want to take a look at Screenagers, a 2016 film by Delaney Ruston. Ruston, a physician and documentary filmmaker, grew interested in this issue when buying a smartphone for her daughter. She soon learned that the average kid spends 6½ hours a day looking at screens — boys often much more.

Maybe it’s wisest to explain to our kids (calmly) that we all benefit from technology, but a “yes/and” strategy is best, for the whole family.

Yes, technology. And fresh air. Yes, Snapchat. And face-to-face conversations.

Tips to try

Try powering off one day a week. Or one hour a day. Or during dinner.

What’s the best way to motivate kids? Lisa Vaupel, a therapist at Washburn Center for Children, offers a few ideas:

• Find something else your kids are interested in, from swimming to a book club. Or “as a family, say, ‘We’re going to the park’ or on a bike ride.”

• Delay gratification. “For younger children, say, ‘If you get dressed, brush your teeth and eat breakfast, you can have 15 minutes of screen time.’ With older kids, first they do chores, then they get the wireless password,” which means you might have to change the password often.

• Read a book together, “or have them read to you.”

• Allot 30 minutes to screen time, which teaches them time management.

• Role model. “At the park, do we pull out our cellphone after we’ve just told them to go play?”

• Use technology wisely. “Have them use alarms to remind them to do their laundry. Or text your kid and say, ‘Hey, I’m thinking about you. I’m really curious about your day.’ ”