What is appropriate screen time for a 13 year old and why should you be making firm rules and restrictions for your teen’s daily digital consumption? Let us explore the relationship your 13 year old has with her screens.

Screens are an essential and indispensable part of human life. Be it an adult or a child, screens are important for all of them to function effectively in present times. However, I believe that Balance is Harmonious and Excess is chaotic. So a good idea is to maintaining a good balance between the digital life and face to face life. This will enable teens to reap the benefits of technology and skip the ill effects that come along with it as a package.

Therefore your focus as parents should be to coach your teens to develop a fulfilling relationship with their screens but also be mindful of creating the balance to live a holistic life.

What is appropriate screen time for a 13 year old

And so there is strong need to collaboratively build the rules around screen times. The first idea to adopt is to connect with your daughter as a friend, so you can have a conversation as equals. This not only helps in understanding her point of view but also make her value your suggestion manifolds.

Let us now have a look at some trends on teen digital times. 

What is appropriate screen time for a 13 year old

The  above data has been sourced from Pew Research

Appropriate Screen Time for a 13 year old

Teens usually spend their digital time on three main themes. A a 13-year-old might be spending his quota of digital time either on entertainment or on school projects or else on communicating with his friends. Play video games and watching movies or shows on Netflix listening to music reading books online or shopping online all would fall in the entertainment category.

There is also significant amount of time that a 13-year-old would be spending on for researching and finding information about his way to school projects or group activities. This time is usually what parents worry the least about because their teen according to them is spending this time on useful activities. 

The last category of screen time is the time that the teen spends on being in touch with his friends or connect and make new friends. Facebook Instagram Snapchat and other texting & dating apps all fall under this category. 

So here is my recommendation for computing the appropriate screen time for your 13 year old teen.

Beginning with one hour of Digital time for Entertainment every day is a good enough start to setting the screen discipline for your high schooler. Past this, it is alright to acknowledge and accept your teen’s need to be available online for her friends. So being online always at the tap of the screen is a trend that everyone is accustomed to. Be it teens, or adults we all are bitten by “Almost Always Online Bug”. So be a little empathetic towards your teen and respect her strong need to fit in into her group of friends. 

The Digital time to be spent on school projects or researching about her other passions is something that every parent needs to take an independent call upon. This gets easier if you have a strong relationship with your teen in a couple of ways. Firstly you are aware what is happening in your teens life in and out. And secondly you share a respectful relationship that makes it easier for her to listen & collaboratively negotiate the appropriate screen time for her.

In any case, don’t be excessively fixed on these timelines and be willing to listen and communicate. 

Another important point to keep in mind is to be available to engage with your teen when she wants to spend time with you playing or just chatting with you. A lot of times, our non availability & busy schedules push our teens to their screens.

Benefits of Screen Time for a 13 year old

List of benefits of Screens & Technology on Teens’ Life:

  • Screen helps your teen be in touch with the latest happenings around the world.
  • It helps her to independently work on her school projects and other researches.
  • Screens help her explore her innate interests & talents and skill herself on these.
  • She is able to connect with her friends and be a part of her group plans.
  • Variety of skills like travel bookings, cooking, health & commuting are now linked to screens & various apps.
  • Technology makes teens aware of new avenues and job fields that they can pick up as their careers.
  • Teens can learn a lot & volunteer themselves about various positive causes on environment, Health & public service.
  • Screens do help them in shaping their opinions about various subjects. Teens can read a lot on internet about variety of subjects.

FAQs about Ideal Screen Time for Teens

Find below the FAQs for Parents to help them decide the good screen time for their teens. These are the FAQs also found in the post What is appropriate screen time fo teens? This is the set of questions that are commonly asked my parents of teens of all age groups.

What should I do to enable a healthy relationship between my teen & her screen?

Model the healthy relationship with your screen. Keep a healthy balance between the time you spent on your screen and treat your wellbeing as a priority. Also communicating & connecting with your teen on this issue can help her understand your expectations better.

Will she suffer on social skills if she spends more n more time on her screen?

Well, maintaining a healthy balance in her routine activities and screen time is what the parents have to encourage her to do. While you have your eyes on this balance, nothing can make her suffer on social skills or other relevant skills for life.

Spending too much time on screen, my teen would neglect her outdoor time. What should I do?

Again creating routine and knitting the screen times in her daily schedule can help her give decent time to all the activities. Of course your teens screen time should not make her neglect other wellbeing activities during the day.

What if she gets addicted to her screen

Take the fear out of your mind. There is no established evidence to depict the ill effects of increased screen times in teens unless the screen times step on your teen’s healthy routine activities. So focus on quality of content she is consuming online rather than more time she is pending on her screen.

What can I do to protect them from ills of digital world like cyber bullying, trolls, and rude behaviours?

Awareness is her biggest strength to manage the ills of digital world. Empower her to manage herself online well. And talk of cyber frauds, bullying etc. often. Skill them to manage these effectively.

The Best Advice on Appropriate Screen Times in Teens

Encourage teenagers to build a wholesome and friendly relationship with their screens. And no longer be addicted to their screens. Having a balanced approach to digital times is the right approach.

The quality advice I can offer you on the issue of Digital time limits in teenagers is that have your focus on What your teen does on Screen alternatively than the Time she spends on Screens. 

Various new research have hooked up that technology, after all is no longerthat terrible for kids. What is vital is the quality of the content that kidsaccess online. And not the time they spend taking part in video games or watching movies online. Parents want to fine-tune the kid’s digital engagement quality and not just digital time.

UNICEF study report additionally establishes that digital engagement stimulates a child’s social relationships due to the fact most of his buddies are now online. Further the find out about displays that web uses has negligible ill impact on the child’s Genius or intellectual well-being. 

As long as the teenagers are no longer compromising on other important routines like the sleep hygiene, the play activities and the social meet ups with friends, it is adequate for them to spend time on screens.

Teach Your Teens about Online Security

We have established that screens are an indispensable part of a teen’s lives. Now the need of the hour is to coach them on online safety, cyberbullying, sexting, online predators etc 

Parents, of course have a bigger role to play in supervising content and other safety related aspects. Few Pointers to keep a check on are:

  • Sharing personal information is a strict no on SM. Also set privacy settings to high security.
  • Online medium is not ideal for befriending strangers and also not sharing personal pictures, videos & other media.
  • It is best not to respond to people or messages that appear threatening, appears unsafe or uncomfortable. 
  • Coach your teen on the rights & wrongs of the internet. Also teach them digital etiquette & compassion.
  • Teach your teen aspects of financial security like protecting credit card details and banking details online. 
  • Also keep a watch for dangerous signs like if the child is spending too much time online, especially at night; or is receiving gifts or unsolicited phone calls; or switches off the smart device as soon as you enter the room.

Also use of Parental controls for filtering the right content for your teens is a great addition to this list.

I hope this write up proves helpful in breaking many myths in your minds about screens being the ultimate demons. And I also hope you can now answer this question of what is appropriate screen time for teens confidently. Do share the tips and strategies that worked for your for your teen with me. You can write to me in the comments section of this post.

How I Manage Screen Times for my 13 year old Teen Daughter

So yes, I am ok if my teen wants to spend some more time in front of her screen. All i worry about is that she does not ignore her other routine activities. What content she is consuming and she is not overriding it are other things that I do keep a check on.

And with my personal experience on the subject, I can easily say that my teen daughter is extremely proficient with technology.  Not only that, she has developed to be an all rounder. She has a good general awareness and a high IQ. Additionally, she has developed good skills in finding out relevant, exciting and quality content.

One of the strategies that have worked for me is not talking much about our screen limits. So when I see her over spending time in front of her mobile, I get back to her in creative ways to remind her of her scheduled activities for the day. She knows the underlying fact that her spending time on screen does not bother or upset me. So I have never really faced a back lash or a conversation jam with her on this subject.

Infact I engage with my kids and do share content of their interest with her. We talk about pictures her friends upload and the series she wants to watch on Netflix. additionally, I even help her in taking the picture she wants to for the Social Media Upload. 

We usually end up listening to interesting stories, answering creative riddles and listening to such useful and life enriching hacks from my 13 year old teen daughter.

Conclusive Answer to What is appropriate screen Time for a 13 year old

I would like to say that while deciding on the appropriate screen time for your teen, go by what your instincts tell you. Keep in check these pointers I have mentioned above. And at the end of it all, screens are not bad but like everything, you must set boundaries for it. Keeping your eyes and ears open and focussing on online safety should be stressed upon. Balance is the key here.

 Happy Surfing & Happy Parenting!

Hi, I am Kushal Singhal – Parent of two lovely kids and the Founder of Cafe Whiz.