How to save your teenage daughter from screen addiction? A parent can rightfully answer this question only post she understands the why of screen addiction. Being aware of all forces that are working in tandem, in the background to make us all addicted to our screens is the first step.
Moreover, this screen addiction is not just a challenge for toddlers or teens, but even the adults have fallen prey to this allure. And so, there exists a rock solid need to understand why we are so addicted to screens and how can we optimise the screen times?
So let us understand the reasons behind excessive screen usage by your teenage daughter and work out a solution to optimise her screen times.
How to save your teenage daughter from screen addiction.
Technology has opened the doors to digital learning experiences and information at the tip of hands for our kids. It is helping teens & adults alike to solve their little as well as big challenges every day. It is also assisting to connect the world and in fact, nations are coming closer to each other with the help of technology. This is true. But is that all or there is more to it?
It is established that the use of electronic media like smartphones and tablets is one of the best sources of entertainment and learning for kids today. However, an Un-supervised interaction with technology is creating more harm than good in our teens. Too much exposure and unlimited screen times are proving to be harmful to the young minds in more ways than one.
So then the big challenge is the amount of time teens are spending in front of their screens.
The data has been sourced from Pew Research.
Why is your Teen daughter addicted to her screen
However a very valid question that pops up in everyone’s mind is who should be held accountable for such addiction in teens. Is it the parents and their ignorance that is leading to an all time high screen times of teens? Well this is a big challenge and we all have felt the guilt of this in our lives.
Instead parents should focus on developing an understanding which is beyond the excessive screen time blame. The fear & guilt serves no purpose and does not answer the question “How to save your teenage daughter from screen addiction”
It is the big nexus of experts working at the backend to make screens addictive and fascinating to your teens. An army of neuroscientists, social and behavioural experts, psychological and technological wizards work day in and out to make it more compelling for us to use our screens.
There are people who are following our activities online and knitting the consumer behaviour data back into the system. Social, behavioural & psychological experts are helping create drug like addiction in games and apps. These are only few strategies being used by marketers that we need to be aware of
Whatever forces are behind our increased dependence on screens, it is an established fact that this increassed screen time is taking us to an unhealthy plain.
For teens, it is all the more alarming because they are impacted by this addiction at a stage where their brain is still developing and hence it has a deeper and more alarming effect on these young minds.
Strategies to Save your Teenage Daughter from Screen Addiction
Teenage is the stepping stone to a whole new world of independence and adulthood. From hanging out with friends to the make-up magic from making independent decisions to dating, it is all so appealing to your teen daughter. And then there is her mobile phone that lets her live a parallel life, a life which she aspires for. And so mobile phone is bound to be super addictive.
Being connected 24 by 7 with their friends, getting the latest information and getting to choose where she wants to spend her time are major things that fascinate teens about their screens.
However for parents to be able to handle all this effectively, being able to empathise with her is the key. They need to strike the right balance between reasonable screen time and limiting it for their teens. I am listing below some strategies that you can use to manage this challenge well in your house.
Chalk out a Screen Limit Plan to Avoid Screen Addiction
As a first step, sit down to have an open conversation with your daughter and design a Screen Limiting Rule Document. This initiative has to be a team effort along with her. Discuss your views about the role of technology in your lives and listen to hers.
More often than not; parents end up ignoring the fact that a lot of school projects and post school activities in need your teen to be on the internet. So while you discuss the Screen Limit plan, you have to mindfully separate the Work Screen time from the Entertainment Screen Time. Being aware of how your teen is spending time online comes really handy while in this discussion.
Another important thing that should be taken care of while making the Screen Limiting Rule Document is attaching logical consequences to the deviations.
For example, the Logical consequence for a Screen rule broken intentionally is no tech time for the next day. However, taking away their ice cream treat on account of Screen rule deviation is in no sense a logical consequence.
Schedule & Limit the screen time
It is essential to fix up strict daily and weekly schedules for screen time for your teen daughter. Infact, it is a good idea to include these in their daily routine since it is an essential part of their lives.
Establish Screen restricted times & avoid addiction
Zero screen time during meals is a good step to start with. Add on other restrictions like no screens before you finish the daily school work. Another good idea is to clearly establish that screen time cannot replace the outdoor play time for your teens.
Respect the Screen Limit Plan yourself
We all know that parents are role model for their kids. It is important to understand this paradigm and act accordingly. Limiting our screen time, not checking the phone during conversations or meals times, passes an effective message to our kids.
Keep a list of alternative engagement activity ideas handy to do away with screen addiction
Replace the screen with other activities that could involve the entire family. Going out on a bike ride or practising his favourite sports could be good options.
Pre-approve the online activities and channels allowed for your teen’s screen time
Choose TV channels and media programs that are extension of your child interests and hobbies. I always suggest the quality of things they do online is more important than but of hours they spend online. So as parents, you should always focus on developing a good test for quality content online for your kids.
Be willing to spend more time with your teens & help limiting screen addiction
Having worked on all the above things does not guarantee an optimal Screen Time for your teens. While you are telling your teens to spend less time glued to their screens, it is imperative then tomake yourself more accessible to them. Being available to spend more time with your teens pass on the message of limiting screen time loud and clear.
Doing things together or learning something new from them, engaging them along with you in a household chore are some creative ways you can keep your teen with you and away from screens.
Why Screen Addiction is a big challenge in teenagers
Increases the gap between parents & kids
A big consequence about being excessively on screens is the increasing gap between parents & their teens.
With children glued to their mobiles, they spend lesser time interacting with their parents & siblings. And hence widening the gap between the members of the family. This is impacting their overall wellbeing in a significant way.
With the limited interactions between the parent & the teen, your daughter ends up missing on critical chunks of knowledge from you. Your experiences, conversations about conflict resolution, personal goals – all take a backseat.
Minimises the human touch
Kids learn and grow by experiencing the touch, sound & visuals of her parents, siblings, peers and friends etc. But when she spends more time online, these human genstures & epxeriences go missing in her life .
Leaving aside her abilty to understand people, it becomes difficult to decode their basic social interactions for her. This is also the reason why we often see, teens ignoring calls from parents & not responding to people around while on phone.
Hampers the development of social skills
Spending more time on screens affect the teen’s ability to develop age appropriate social skills. This is an obvious consequence since social skills can be developed and polished only by interacting with people & practising.
So once the screen time is overpowering your teen’s life, there is a good probability that she is not able to catch up with the face to face interactions and lacks basic social skills.
Minimises the ability to read human emotions
Unlimited screen time is also pushing our teens away from understanding or reading other people’s emotions and feelings which is one of the most important life skill.
Decreases Outdoor & play time
When your teen daughter is glued to the screen most of the times, her active time gets compromised. And we all understand the importance of outdoor play and activities in maintaining good health in teens.
Increased exposure to the screen has also been linked to other health issues like obesity, hyperactivity, aggressive and violent behaviour and irregular sleep patterns.
The definitive answer to How to save your teenage daughter from screen addiction
The answer lies in providing ample choice of interesting and challenging activities to your teens. So she herself feels spending time online as an unproductive n uninteresting task.
However, everything said and done, we do have to accept that technology has amazing plus points. Internet is a resource that cannot be ignored or completely blocked off. Information and knowledge is available at the click of a finger thereby making it easy for teens to enhance their academic and personal growth.
Additionally, the changing face of our world, changing jobs, changing cultures keeping our teens away from technology and screens is neither a good idea nor a workable solution. Living in a fast-paced and technology oriented world, we cannot simply cut off our teens from media. So the only option we as parents have is to teach responsibility & make them aware of ill effects of excessive usage of screens. Hence it is best to let our children become media literate in a media generated world but responsibly.
Balance is the key to Avoiding screen addiction in your teen daughter
Living in guilt or fear of screens is the last thing you should be doing as a parent. There has always been criticism for every good thing around. I had the similar discussion regarding reading habits in teens and kids with a group of moms and they spelt put same fears and apprehensions regarding their teens excessive reading habits. Poor social skills, missing outdoor play time and minimised parent teen interaction were all the challenges presented in that discussion as well. So screens is not the only thing hampering or adding value to their lives.
Every thing when done in a balanced and responsible way adds on to your teens overall development. So go ahead and fearlessly talk about the screen time with your teen. And decide the right rules for your household and your teens. And make sure they abide by the set rules just as you would. In fact when the entire family adopts a disciplined and healthy approach towards screen times, it becomes easier for teens to follow too. And then you can raise balanced teens who get the best from both the worlds.