It’s no secret that many teens spend hours glued to the screen each day, and researchers are still uncovering the potential side effects from so much screen time. A lot of parents want to reduce their teen’s screen time but can’t seem to find a method that works. If you’re curious about what strategies to try next, look no further. Here are seven awesome ways to encourage your teen to reduce their screen time.
You can always use parental controls to affect your teen’s screen time. Most smartphones, video game consoles, and computers have settings that allow parents to restrict certain apps, or put a limit on how many hours your teen can use their device. If you don’t want to use built-in settings, there are a variety of apps you can download for better control over your teen’s screen time.
We think it’s important to limit screen-time by creating areas where phones are not allowed. Some places that we think you should implement this are at the table during a meal and during car rides. If you can eliminate phones from these settings, you will have more time to engage with your teen socially, while reducing their screen time. We suggest using these inspirational quotes to stir the conversation.
Set an Electronics Bedtime
Putting electronic devices before bed decreases screen time, plus it’s a healthy choice. Using screens right before bed is known to disturb sleep, and many teens might stay up extra late on their devices because they have the habit of using them before bed. We think to remove electronics an hour before bedtime is a really healthy choice. You might want to make a rule that everyone has to keep their devices out of the bedroom after 9:00 pm to help cut back on usage.
Take Away Screen Time as a Natural Consequence
The next tip we recommend is to establish rules around screen time, so you can take away your teen’s screen access if they break the rules. For example, if your teen is using their phone in a ‘no phone zone,’ such as at the dinner table, or after a certain hour at night, you can reduce their screen time as a consequence. Your teen will learn to respect the rules around screen time as the consequence is directly related to the offense. This works much better than simply taking away access to their screens for any unrelated mistake they might make.
Reduce Your Screen Time Together
Another strategy is to limit your own screen time with your teen. It might not seem fair to make your teen cut back on screen time if you aren’t willing to make the same sacrifice. One thing you can try is a screen-free Sunday. As a family, decide that one day per week, everyone will find some other way to spend their time than using their devices. You could spend time playing games, visiting friends, or enjoying the outdoors. Maybe allow one screen-related activity you can do as a family, such as watching a TV show together before bed.
Make a Habit of Going Outside
One way to get your teen to stay off their devices is to encourage them to spend time in nature. Whether it’s playing a sport, going to the beach, or going on a hike, try to find something fun you can do with your teen to get them outside on a regular basis. If your teen enjoys the activity, they might make the change to spend more time exercising than sitting in front of a screen without even knowing it.
Make Conditions Before Buying New Devices
To get your teen on board with your screen time rules, make clear conditions before you get the next gadget. If your teen really wants a phone, a laptop, or a gaming console, you have a lot of leverage as a parent. You can say, “Okay, we can pick it up this weekend, but only under the condition that we have screen-free Sundays, and we turn it off before bed.” At this point, your teen might agree to anything to get that new device, so they are more likely to agree to your conditions that will help reduce screen time in the future.
These Methods Are Sure to Work.
Remember that every teen is different, so you might not find the perfect solution right away, but at least one of these tips will be effective. We hope you and your teen can enjoy the benefits of less screen time, and won’t even miss it.
Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviors. He is the co-founder of talkingtoteens.com and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers.
Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay