Since the pandemic, screen media among young people has increased 17 percent according to a new Common Sense Survey.
We have now seen a decline in mental health in teens, a rise in depression, anxiety and underperforming in school.
Technology is not going away, as a matter of fact, it’s only evolving and it’s time for parents to start parenting accordingly. The truth is, many of us did not grow-up with a device in our hand, or, some of the younger parents are just as attached to their gadget as their child. Either way, everyone needs to start learning a healthy digital diet for our own emotional wellness.
5 Ways to Reduce Screen Time
In order to have a healthy digital life, the entire family needs to be part of the plan. The truth is, teens want limits. In a Screen Education survey, 26 percent of teens said they wished that someone would impose screen time limits. It’s never too late to start.
1. Smartphone contract. If you don’t have one, it’s time to create one. List your teen’s responsibilities and limits, the consequences, and your responsibilities as the parent. Click here for tips to create a contract.
2. Limit notifications on smartphones. All those dings, rings, buzzes and sounds are added triggers that set off stressors. Have your teen choose three apps (or whatever you are comfortable with) for sounds. The others they can manually check periodically.
3. Create daily device-free time. Whether it’s dinner time, before bedtime, or one to two hours in the afternoon or morning, develop a schedule when no one is staring at screens.
4. Lights-out, screens-off. Technology is affecting teens’ sleep and mental health. It’s up to parents to remove their phones from the bedrooms. You are a parent first. Simply asking them to turn it off is not the answer.
5. Respect. This generation (sometimes) needs to be reminded about old-fashioned respect. If you are with others (family, friends, in a store, checking out, at a restaurant, or any activity that involves others), have respect for the people around you. Don’t engage on your devices. That is digital-free time.
Most importantly for parents, which I didn’t list, since most know this already, is to lead by example. If your teen watches you texting and driving, you are basically giving them the green light to do the same. So think twice about your own cell phone habits—your kids are watching.
Read Common Sense Survey.