Effective Tips for Parents to Cut Down Kids’ Screen Time

Teenagers spend a lot of time using devices, and it can be difficult for parents to effectively manage screen time for their kids. The average teenager’s screen time is over 7 hours a day, which is a lot more than the recommended max of 2 hours of sedentary screen time per day. 

If you want to help your teen foster healthy screen time, here are some hacks: 

Work Together For Healthy Screen Time: 

If you try to force your teen to cut down their screen time, chances are it won’t go well. Teenagers naturally push boundaries, and they may feel like it’s unfair if you try to force strict screen time controls onto them suddenly. 

As a counsellor, I always recommend that parents work with their teens to reach a mutually beneficial solution. Sit down together and come up with a collaborative arrangement, where there are strict but fair usage limits and daily screen times. It promotes a sense of ownership and responsibility when you allow your teen to add input into these limits, and you can discuss a flexible schedule that works around their school and social needs. Chances are, you’ll have a lot more success working with your teen to come up with a screen time limit that works for both of you.  

  • Utilise a ‘Technology-Free’ Zone: 

A technology-free zone is an area within the home where devices and screens aren’t allowed. Many experts recommend that teenagers’ rooms should be technology-free zones, as this reduces the urge to spend late nights scrolling and protects their ever-important sleep. 

Alternative activities, like hobbies and books, should be provided to keep your child entertained. The goal here isn’t to promote boredom but to help them explore their other hobbies outside of screens.  

  • Lead By Example: 

The age-old adage that ‘monkey see, monkey do’ has never been truer than with kids. Your teenager takes note of everything you are doing, and if they see you on your screens all day, they’ll likely mirror the behaviour. You should strive to not be on your phone often when spending 1:1 time with your teen.  

  • Use Parental Controls: 

Parental control apps can help you monitor and manage screen time within your home. You can set limits for each device, and set age-appropriate restrictions on content and usage. We always recommend chatting with your teen before implementing parental controls. Give them a chance to prove themselves and explain your reasoning behind why you’re considering using it. Teenagers tend to be more receptive to changes when they understand the reasoning behind them. 

Why Is Too Much Screen Time Bad For Teens? 

Too much screen time isn’t good for your teenager. Difficulties concentrating, trouble sleeping, aggression, violence, obesity and lack of social skills are just a few examples of the negative effects excessive screen time can have on teens. 

While technology and screens play an important role in our daily lives, it’s important to find a balance and limit usage for the sake of our mental and physical health. Helping your teen achieve this balance is instrumental in preventing the harmful effects of too much screen time.  

Screen Addiction? How a Professional Can Help:

If you’re struggling to help your teenager bring their screen time under control, it may be time to bring in a professional. Screen addiction can cause your teen to withdraw, avoid social situations and become increasingly depressed and anxious. It’s estimated that 73% of 13-17-year-olds are addicted to screens, and it can be really hard to break the habit when all of your child’s peers are using it too.

At Mindful Me, our professional counsellors can work with you and your teen to create a plan to reduce screen time and find healthier ways to spend their free time. Our counsellors will work with your teen to identify why they feel the need to constantly be on their screens. It could be due to boredom, anxiety, or seeking validation from social media likes and follows. By addressing these underlying issues, we can help your teen develop healthier coping mechanisms and reduce their reliance on screens. Contact us now to see how our counsellors can assist you.