If you’re looking to curb your teen’s online screen time, but don’t want to cut them off completely, there are options to make sure they stay safe while they’re online.
Here are four ways you can limit your child’s online screen time without completely cutting them off from social media and the internet altogether.
Social Media – How To Set Limits
Social media is a wonderful thing.
It provides people of all ages with a place to communicate and connect with others who share similar interests, goals, or dreams.
A lot of teens are using social media as an outlet for creativity and self-expression, but it’s important that you keep a watchful eye on just how much time they spend on these sites.
Letting them spend too much time glued to their phones can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
The best way to combat screen addiction in teens is by setting limits around online use.
Make sure they aren’t spending more than three hours a day on their devices, whether it be smartphones or tablets; limit TV watching; and encourage face-to-face interactions instead of digital ones during meals, study sessions, and even during playtime (go outside!).
They need time to relax—without any device attached—in order to stay well-rounded individuals.
During school days, you might also want to consider limiting electronics after 7 p.m., ensuring children get 8 hours of sleep every night, and starting no electronics allowed meal times (like dinner) at 5 p.m. If kids tend to fall asleep early due to online activity, create an artificial light curfew at 10:30 p.m.
And remember: No screens whatsoever before bed!
Social Media and Teenagers
Teens and social media are a rising problem.
Social media is used by teens at record rates, and it’s not always used wisely. Teens are posting too much on social media, and they’re spending too much time online in general.
And while they can be upstanding people in real life, if you judge them by what they post online, you might never see who they really are.
When it comes to social media and teenagers, there’s no magic formula that will make every kid happy.
What does help, however, is having an understanding of how teens use social media.
When to Give your Children their Own Cellphone
It may be hard to believe, but your child doesn’t need his own phone until he is in high school or even college.
But don’t worry; you won’t have to wait too long. A good rule of thumb is to give your child a phone when he or she enters middle school (8th grade) if they are in a highly populated area, and as soon as they enter high school if they live in a small town.
When you do give your child his or her own phone, make sure that you give them rules about how much time is appropriate for them to spend on social media and what time of day (or night) it is okay for them to use it.
How to Keep an Eye on your Child Online Activities
Keeping an eye on your child’s online activities might seem like a scary task, but it can be easy to control and monitor if you keep a few things in mind.
One of the best ways to keep an eye on your child’s screen time is to establish rules and regulations for screen time use with your children from an early age.
Most parents choose to give kids one hour of screen time per day, or sometimes less depending on certain situations.
In order to enforce these regulations, it is helpful for parents to know when their child will be online so they can check up on what they are doing and how much they are using.
Teens and Social Media – How Much is Too Much?
Social media addiction is a real thing. This affects teens more than adults because they have higher rates of dopamine production, which makes social media sites—and other addictive things—more appealing.
Since our kids are developing at younger ages, it’s important to keep an eye on their screen time. Set rules and boundaries early and stick with them for as long as possible.
Online screen time can be fun for teens, but there’s also nothing wrong with letting them enjoy downtime without being attached to a device.
Encourage activities that aren’t electronics-based, like reading or going outside.
You might even choose to set time limits on usage so your teens don’t spend all day glued to a screen (that’s what you’re doing right now).
Remember: There is no right amount of online screen time that works for everyone.
It depends on your goals and strategy as well as what you want from life in general. Instead of overthinking it, pick reasonable limits and make sure everyone has some sort of offline plan when those limits come up.
There’s no reason anyone should spend all day surfing Facebook (even if someone might find it enjoyable).
Have any questions about internet safety or resources? Let us know below! We love helping out when we can!
Online Screen Time – If They Get Addicted, What Should You Do?
While it may seem like a normal part of today’s social life, screen time can have consequences.
For example, a study from Wake Forest University found that online screen time can negatively impact sleep. You can find a similar research paper here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7034412/
The researchers found that when participants’ phones were taken away from them for 15 hours, they experienced 40 minutes more sleep than before.
Simply put: less phone equals more restorative sleep. To limit your teen’s screen time, consider building positive routines around things like meals and schoolwork by turning off electronics and setting aside specific times for activities such as face-to-face conversation or board games.
If you notice your teen is becoming obsessed with certain sites or mobile apps, take away those privileges until they are back in line with your family rules.
As long as you’re following through on family guidelines and communication is open, chances are good that your teen will adjust accordingly.
No one likes being told what to do – but even if teens get mad at first, most tend to come around pretty quickly; teens typically want parents who set clear boundaries (within reason) because it helps give teens something to push against – an opportunity to develop self-control and mature decision making skills.
Is Taking Their Phone a Good Idea
It’s hard for any parent, not just those with teens, to avoid asking themselves whether they’re giving too much digital screen time. Is taking my child’s phone a good idea?
This question is a little trickier because our first instinct is always to protect children from exposure, even if we don’t necessarily agree with what they’re doing.
But some experts would argue that getting rid of a device can make it seem more desirable.