Limiting teen use of technology can be overwhelming, but creating consistent rules is crucial. If you are not sure where to start, read some of the tips below for some helpful guidance.
1. Set a “technology curfew” where phones are given to parents at a certain time or placed to charge out of the child’s room. This should help teens not lose sleep but also limit late night conversations or videos in their bedrooms.
2. Another rule may be “no texting in the passenger seat” or “while eating dinner” whichever scenario your teen does that may drive you crazy. Again, it is important to start somewhere and to be consistent. At least during these particular moments more communication can be had with no distractions.
3. During homework time have your child leave their phone in a basket in the kitchen or another area, which should eliminate additional distractions while working. Some parents allow a “homework break” an hour or so into studying for a particular time (a timer could be set for 15 minutes) that allows the child to take a break from homework to check their phone.
4. Another idea is to on a regular basis or sporadically offer “tech-free Fridays” or once a month not using technology for a day. This helps teach your child to live in the present but also communicate in other ways during that time.
5. Occasionally check your child’s phone for messages or view their past history on the Internet. Your child needs to understand from the beginning that it is a privilege to use technology and you will randomly check in to see what they are doing. Parents should not feel like spies monitoring their children’s behavior use of technology. Knowing their parents might be reading texts and posts can make teens think twice before acting. In fact, having your child’s passwords is also a good idea.
The most important thing to remember is to set expectations and keep the lines of communication open. It may be beneficial for you and your child to sit down and write the rules together and sign a contract. The conversation while writing the rules will be eye-opening for both of you to understand each other’s expectations.
Dr. Jennifer Politis, PhD, LPC, of Politis Therapy Services, LLC, is a therapist and educational psychologist specializing in therapy and evaluation services for children and adults in Bergen County. She works with women dealing with issues related to motherhood, life balance, stress and relationships. Dr. Politis also works with children and adolescents that have learning differences, academic challenges, behavioral issues, depression and anxiety. Dr. Politis earned her doctoral degree from Fordham University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, School Psychologist and Certified School Counselor. www.drjenpolitis.com Phone: 201-820-5737 Email: [email protected]
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