Fostering Balance With Technology To Help Your Teen Succeed
I have four kids. Two of them are teenagers and two of them are starting to creep their way towards the preteen years. Having a wider gap between my children (my oldest is over 18, my youngest under 10), I have seen a lot of changes in the role of technology in the lives of the average young person.
Back when my son was younger there was certainly an emphasis on computers, video games, and television. But it wasn’t that much different than my own media consumption back when I was a tyke, watching Saturday morning or early morning cartoons before school.
That isn’t the case any longer. A study has found that teens spend an average of nine mind-boggling hours in front of some kind of media. Most of this is accounted for via phone or tablet use. Given the patterns I have seen with my own teens and their friends, I might even say this is a conservative estimate.
Now, let’s put that into context for a moment. An average school day, depending on where you live in the US and the weekly structure, is between five and seven hours per day. So teens are spending more time on their phones than learning.
But that isn’t the only thing they do less of. Another study has found that young people are getting an average of fewer than seven hours of sleep per night, even though they need around nine.
You can see where priorities lie!
The Trick? Finding Balance
It may be tempting to make your home a no technology zone in response to the above facts. But not only is technology a necessary tool for school and future careers, it can be a valuable way for your child to learn.
Your job as a parent is to help regulate your children’s use of technology and show them how to balance their life. They can still have fun on their phones, play video games, and stream Netflix. They just need a little bit of help to do it in healthy ways.
Here are some tips you can start implementing today to get your kids on track with tech.
Stress That Online Life Isn’t Real
Teens suffer from a serious case of FOMO these days – Fear of Missing Out. Given how social media splashes images of everyone doing incredible things and looking their best at all times, it is no wonder that the social web has started to have a serious impact on our kid’s self-esteem.
Show them that it is exaggerated, not reality. The real memories are the ones they make offline.
Make Mealtimes No-Phone Times
Having meals with your family is such a great way to connect, remain involved and just enjoy family time. But if everyone is buried in their phone it isn’t going to be the relaxing experience you are hoping for.
Have everyone leave the electronics in another room and have meal times as a family.
Be an Example
How are your kids going to learn to keep the phones off when you are always on yours? Living by example is a great way to make sure your kids emulate and realize that tech isn’t the most important thing in their lives.
Plan Activities (and Leave the Phones at Home)
You can get your kids away from screens if you give them chances to do other activities. Visit an amusement park. Go to a miniature golfing range. Play some laser tag. Go to the part. Take a hike. Check out a local museum. Just get your kids out and about and the rewards will be immediate.