Without adult guidance, most teenagers would spend almost all their waking hours behind a screen. Whether they’re texting on their smartphones or they are watching videos on their laptops, their electronic use can easily get out of control. Screen time and digital technology use can be a part of a healthy lifestyle when it’s balanced with other activities that are good for development and well-being. These activities include physical activity, extracurricular activities, and socializing. Getting the right balance also includes making sure screen time doesn’t interfere with sleep.
Here are all the tips to help teenagers use screens in a balanced and healthy way:
1. Use rules about screen time and digital technology use:
You can help teenagers balance screen time and digital technology through family rules or a family media plan. It’s okay if your rules include time limits to help your child balance screen time with other things like physical activity.
2. Look into extracurricular activities:
Extracurricular activities, interests, and hobbies are good for your child because they give your child the chance to meet new people and develop skills. This means they’re a great way to balance screen time. Extracurricular activities can be just about anything your child enjoys outside school like sports, drama, or hobbies like craft. They can also be things that you’ve encouraged your child to do, like language classes, music, debating, swimming, community activities, or casual work.
3. Encourage socializing and friendship:
Even if your child uses social media to keep up with friends, it’s good for your child to socialize face-to-face too. Being with other people helps your child develop social skills and gives your child a social group to do new things with, especially those that are different from what the family does.
4. Avoid screen time and digital technology use before bed:
Teenagers need basically 8-10 hours of sleep every night. Usage of digital technology before bed can affect how quickly your child falls asleep. If your child avoids mobile phones, smartwatches with apps, tablets, computer screens, or TV in the hour before bed, your child is likely to get to sleep more quickly.
5. Keep digital technology out of bedrooms at night:
If you keep mobile phones and other devices out of your child’s bedroom at night, your child won’t be able to stay up late playing games or messaging friends. This can also stop your child from being disturbed in the night by notifications, messages, or calls.