There is a time and a place for technology. It helps us study, work, and communicate more effectively, but left to their devices, teens would easily spend all their time texting, talking, and playing games, which is not healthy.
As parents, you need to help them find balance and limit the amount of screen time they have to a sensible amount. This can be a tricky issue to navigate, which is why we have put together some tips to help you get it right.
Make Screen Time A Privilege
Screen time used to be a privilege in the past, but these days it has turned into more of a right for many.
A good way to help your teens limit their screen time is to turn it into a privilege once again.
Make it clear that screen time is something that your teens only have access to when they are behaving well, helping out, and completing their homework on time. When they know it has to be earned, they are more likely to engage in other things and more likely to appreciate screen time when they do have it. Basically, they will learn restraint.
Be A Good Role Model
If you want your teen to limit their screen time, you should not be spending so much time on your own computer that the fan starts to make a worrying noise – this link will help you if that is happening – or so much time browsing Facebook that you never get anything done around the house. Be sure to pay attention to your child when they are talking to you and put your phone away or face down when having a conversation. Your child is your primary focus — not whatever is on the screen of your phone. You are your child’s role model. Spend more time engaging with them and they will naturally find a healthy balance.
Put Clear Rules In Place
If you have clear rules around screen time, your teen will know what is expected and be prepared to end a chat when it’s bedtime or to turn off a computer game when dinner is ready. Because they are prepared they will be less likely to argue.
So sit down and think about what times you do/do not want them to use tech, what the latest cut-off point for using tech is, and what other chores they must do before they can log on. It’s best if you can discuss and agree on the rules with them rather than implementing them with no consultation, too.
Schedule Screen-Free Days
Having a family-wide screen-free day once a week or month, where you do lots of fun things like playing board games or heading to the local park together will show your teens that there is more to life than whatever is on their screen.
Limiting your teen’s screen addiction may not be as easy, but it is important if you want them to study, exercise, and assist around the house. The above ideas will help the process be as simple as possible.