3 Tips for Managing Teenage Screen Time
With the fresh start of a new school year, teenagers will be faced with balancing their academic life with their family and social life. As teens participate in this daily balancing act, their mobile devices are never too far away. With most teens having access to mobile devices and screens daily, there is growing concern about the negative impact that these devices have on their mental health.
For teens, the main use of their mobile devices continues to be for social media, where a large portion of their social groups live. As teens share and “like” on social media for numerous hours with their friends and acquaintances, they become vulnerable to many harms and risks.
In a study of 12,866 young people in England from age 13 years to 16 years, the more frequent the social media use, the more likely for the teen to be a victim of cyberbullying, experience regular sleep loss, and see a decline in physical activity. Of particular note in the study was that adolescent girls had an even greater risk for cyberbullying, sleep loss, and loss of physical activity than their male counterparts.
Here are some helpful ways that you can help minimize screen time and help your teen take care of their mental health:
- Take a break – If your teen spends multiple hours each day on their devices, encourage them to put down their phone and read a book or play a game. Set time limits and have them put their phone away during gatherings such as family dinner. By periodically taking breaks or limiting screen time, it can help your teen better manage their day and find more time for work and play.
- Get outside – Have your teen leave their phone or device at home and offer to take them to a park to walk, jog, or play. Physical activity is important to keeping both their body and mind healthy.
- Go to bed – When it is time for bed, collect your teen’s devices for the night. By not having the phone as a distraction, your teen is more likely to get a longer night’s sleep.
If your teen is experiencing stress and anxiety from screen use or having trouble finding balance in their daily lives, our Counseling & Wellness Centers offer individual and group counseling for children and teenagers. Call our toll-free number 844-4-ACENDA (844-422-3632) to request an appointment or visit our website for more information.