28 Sep 10 Tips to Tame Teen Tech Time
Our addiction to technology is getting out of hand and one age group seems enthusiastic surfers; 12- to 15-year-olds, clock up 19 or more hours a week online, according to Ofcom.
At Time To Log Off, we’re determined to help you create a healthy balance between your life online and your life offline. We do this by attending regular digital detox retreats. However, you don’t need to send your teenagers on a retreat to help them cut their time on screens. We’ve got 10 tips that will help tame teen tech time.
#1 Turn off their phone notifications
On average, we check our phone 150 times a day. By simply getting your teenager to switch off the push notifications on their devices they’ll get less distracted and stop checking their phone every 5 seconds.
#2 Make all family meals phone free
One of the simplest ways to tame tech time for the whole family is by making all meals together phone free. By banning phones during meal times your teenagers will get an enforced break from them every day and have time to communicate with you. You can even go one step further and ban all types ofscreens during meal times – no phones and no TV means there’ll be no distractions.
#3 Swap tech for analogue activities
Does your teenager run in from school and go straight to the TV? If you’ve answered yes we’ve got a simple solution to stop this. Simply swap their screen options for a range of fun analogue activities. You can encourage your children to pick up a book, paint, draw, cook, just about anything without a screen. With 40% of teens not completing homework because of time spent with digital devices, it’s never been more important to cut them out of your teens’ after-school routine.
#4 Make them leave their phones outside their bedrooms
It isn’t unusual for teens to head up to bed at 9 o’clock and then sit in bed scrolling through their phone for the next few hours. Getting your teenagers to leave their phones outside their bedroom doors before bed will not only cut tech time but also help them sleep. Studies show that teenagers with screen time of more than four hours per day were 3.5 x more likely to get a poor nights sleep.
#5 Swap screens for outdoor activities after school
It’s easy for your teenager to come home from school or college and watch TV or play on their Xbox, after all, they’ve had a busy day at school.
But rather than letting them come home and glueing themselves to a screen, why not get them to go outdoors? They could play football with their friends, go for a walk in the park, take the dog out, anything that means they get outdoors. They’ll get some fresh air, as well as reducing their tech time.
#6 Remove social media apps from their phones
The average social media user spends 1.72 hours a day on social media alone. This equates to a significant chunk of their tech time. Most teenagers will have their favourite social media apps on their smartphone for easy use. By simply getting them to delete these apps they won’t be able to access the websites as easily, cutting their tech time.
#7 Restrict them to TV OR video games each evening
We all know that teenagers love playing video games and also have to catch something on TV each evening. During the week make them chose between video games or TV each evening. That way they’ll only be able to do one or the other – and also agree limits on how long they can use each of these for.
#8 Plan dedicated ‘family’ time
Set a dedicated family time every weekend, such as reserving Sunday afternoon for the whole family. Put all of your phones in a drawer and go for a long walk, or pull out an old board game if it’s raining. Don’t let anyone use any digital devices for the whole afternoon. Not only will your teenagers spend less time on tech but you’ll also love getting to spend time with them.
#9 Buy them an old-school alarm clock
Our smartphones do everything for us, even wake us up. Hitting snooze on our phone is all too easy and research shows that allowing ourselves to go back to sleep during ‘snooze time’ results in sleep inertia which causes impaired alertness and performance throughout the day. When your teenagers start leaving their phones out of their bedrooms, get them an analogue alarm clock, it will help them feel refreshed and alert each morning too!
#10 Ditch digital together
37% of teens and 30% of adults admit that their devices interfere with normal day to day activities. So it isn’t just teenagers that need to cut tech time, we suggest you do it together. 21% of UK children feel their parents don’t listen to them properly because they’re constantly checking their emails, or making calls or texts on their mobiles. We think it’s time for you to cut tech time as a family. When you’re giving these tips to your tech-addicted teenagers, tell them you’re all in it together!
We hope you enjoy cutting tech time as a family, check out our digital detox retreats if you want to totally unplug.