Teens and screen time
Maybe one of the most challenging/conflictual subject when you have teenagers! There was a time when parents believed that managing the amount of time their children spent watch television programming was difficult. Now it seems impossible. With the merging of media platforms, mobile Internet devices with unlimited data usage, smart-TVs, and ubiquitous streaming video, parental management of screen time for teens requires an extreme amount of effort and coordination on parents. And with parents in the U.S. putting in a longer work weeks (47-hours), time required for effective parenting time is dwindling.
7 strategies for reducing screen time
Log screen time vs active time
Start tracking how much time your family spends in front of a screen, including things like TV- and DVD-watching, playing video games, and using the computer for something other than school or work. Then take a look at how much physical activity they get. That way you’ll get a sense of what changes need to be made. Then use the Screen Time Chart.
Create screen free bedrooms
Take the TVs and computers out of your kids’ bedrooms. Children who have TVs in their room spend almost one and a half hours more each day watching them than their peers. Plus, if your kids are in their rooms watching TV, they’re removed from family time.
Set screen time limits
If you have yet to create house-rules for technology use, I'd suggest reading iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know about Selfies, Sexting, Gaming, and Growing up. It's okay to stagger your teens media diet during school days vs. weekends vs. summer vacation days. Negotiate a best practice policy for your particular family needs. More important enforce the rule!
AAP (Afterschool Action Plan)
Kids usually watch television when they have nothing to do, and they usually have nothing to do because they haven’t thought about what they could do. Help your family come up with after-work and afterschool activities that you can do any time you can’t think of anything to do but watch TV. Create a top 10 list of activities like bike riding, shooting hoops, walking the dog, playing their instrument, reading a book...and post this list in a place where everyone can see it.
Not a reward, Not a punishment
Screen time can be an enjoyable experience, but it shouldn’t be played up as more than that. By using screen time as a reward for good behavior or a punishment for bad behavior, we make it seem more important. Make screen time a “non-event” in your home. Instead, use recognition and encouragement for physical activity and healthy eating with your kids.
Set a good example
You need to be a good role model and limit your screen time to no more than two hours per day, too. If your kids see you following your own rules, then they’ll be more likely to do the same.
Eliminate background TV
The developed habit of having a television playing during the day and evening should change. Try streaming music instead.
Video Bonus about "Screenagers"
A documentary to understand the physiological and psychological effects of screen time on the teenage brain! "Delaney Ruston is a Stanford trained physician. She wanted to understand the science of tech time on children’s development and as a mom she wanted to know what to do. Ultimately Delaney made Screenagers because she believes deeply in the importance of helping kids find balance in our tech-filled world. She is passionate about having the film be a vehicle to bring together parents, educators and kids so that change can happen not just in our homes but in our schools and communities too." See how you can host a screening in your school, community or workplace here.