What is appropriate screen time for a 14 year old? Are you looking for a credible answer to this question? Well, in that case you have reached the right place. This Post is all about 14 year old teens, their relationship with screens and how do parents intervene to create a fine balance in between them. 

A Lot has been said about Screens being the ultimate demons in our kids’ lives. And a lot has been ignored on how they are becoming the indispensable parts of our day today functioning. The best way to describe the screens is then they being the necessary evils for the current generation of teens & adults alike.

However, when managed appropriately, screen times can actually be quite enabling and empowering for your teens. But when left unmonitored, screen times can lead to a lot of ill effects. Anxiety, depression & under confidence in social relationships are few examples of this.

What is appropriate screen time for a 14 year old

Appropriate screen times for your teen is the time that you both are comfortable with her being on screen. The decision to this question should be reached by taking into consideration multiple factors.

Focussing your energies on supporting your teen to develop a harmonious & functional relationship with their screens is a good start. However, I do understand that it is easier said than done. Especially when we now realise that a lot of people are working to make it more Tempting & Addictive. So here is how, I as a mother of 2, deal with the screens in my house.

One of the very first thing to consider is the change in how the life functions now versus few years back. Have a look at the infographic to explore these changes.

what is appropriate screen time for a 14 year old teen

So when the whole way of our life is changing and moving to an online platform, it is unreasonable to expect our teens to not use their screens. The way they connect with their friends, the way they travel, the way they find their entertainment and the way they study teens are using their mobiles and laptops for everything. 

So any discussion regarding screen times cannot be complete without we talking about how they are spending their times online. I don’t think any of the parents would have issues if our teens use mobiles to plan their next day or to research about their next scientific experiment. 

Also, I have a similar post on Appropriate Screen Time for teens. You might want to refer to the infographics & few other sections in that post which are unique. They represent different data sets and trends for teens. However, some of the content of both these posts are overlapping for obvious reasons. 

Pros & Cons of Screen Time in Teens

We do know now that the teens are spending a significant amount of time on their screens. The next discussion agenda should be about how this is affecting the teens. A lot has been Said about screens and the negative impacts it has on the minds and lives of our kids.
 
From decreasing concentration spans to depression, from inability to handle face to face interactions to the dip in academic grades, a lot of these effects have been pinned on to the time teens spend on their screens
 
However, I would like to talk about the other side of this story. So let us discuss all the good things that technology & digital age bring on to the table. And if we were to count ways in which technology is simplifying our lives, a dozen posts would prove less. I would like to point out significant and often ignored positives of our teens being on screens. 
 
Here are some of the key benefits of embracing technology. And as a teen’s parent, you might want to consider these before you decide on the screen time restrictions.
Screens offer a whole new world of opportunities & careers to teens.

The digital medium can also encourage teens to explore & perfect their skills and talents online. This is extremely helpful in choosing relevant careers of their choice. Infact, technology has opened up a whole new array of careers like Data analytics, Gaming & E-commerce for your young teens.
 
Having access to screens, the teens get well-versed with the new age technological innovations. And hence are more likely to consider these new job areas for a career.
Screens are simplifying our lives and so does teens too

Various key skills required for everyday living have now been taken over by the online space. Be it navigating our way to a new place to booking our entire travel vacation, it is all done wit the help of technology today.

Therefore, teens get equipped to manage these things on their own once they have the access to their screens.

Screens help in having latest & updated information about the world

Access to technology enables a quicker access to information about the world. And having this on the tip of their fingers, the teens are more equipped to make the right choices in their lives

Screens enable teens to gain in-depth information about their interests

The digital medium enables kids to access & gain holistic knowledge about different interests. Technology opens a whole new world out to kids. They are able to watch different events, & happenings from around the world. They are even able to explore different cities their culture their people on the click of a button.
 
For example, kids are able to watch animals under water or see a country from the other side of the world. They can take virtual tours to the Seven Wonders of the World.
Screens help communicate with peers & teachers

With mobile becoming the centre of all the communication these days, technology is now an imperative part of our day today lives. Embracing the technology makes your teen feel in control and help her fit in with his peers. It also helps parents and teens be in touch with the activities happening at school. Teachers too use mobile and technology to be in touch with teens and parents post school. So it is definitely bringing people closer and making information travel faster.

Technology & Screens enhance the cognitive aspects of teen’s personality

Especially the critical thinking skills, reading & mathematical abilities have been seen to be positively influenced by technology. This is true for computer-assisted learning software pertaining to math which is typically a subject where teachers are unable to pay personalised attention to their students in large-sized classes.

Technology is the future

There is no denying the fact that technology is shaping the future and it is the future. It is spreading its roots deep down under in every field. So getting accustomed to the technological advancements is the way to go into the future. 

The Best Advice on Appropriate Screen Times in Teens

Encourage your teens to develop a healthy and friendly relationship with their screens. And not be addicted to their screens. you cam read useful resources on How to help your teen from Screen Addiction here.

So, he best advice I can offer you on the subject of screen time limits in your 14 year old teen is that have your focus on What your teen does on Screen rather than the Amount of time she spends on Screens. Once you monitor the content she is consuming, you can ensure that she is spending tie on right things.

Various new studies have established that technology, after all is not that bad for kids. What is important is the quality of the content that kids access online rather than the time they spend playing games or watching videos online. Parents need to fine-tune the kid’s digital engagement quality and time.

Appropriate Screen Times for a 14 year old

UNICEF study report also mentions that digital technology stimulates a child’s social relationships. This in deep contrast to the assumption that screens are responsible for decreasing face to face social interactions in teens and kids. Since most of his friends are now online, being available online helps in being a part of her own tribe. Further the study also reveals that internet use has negligible negative impact on the child’s brain or mental well-being. 

As far as the teens are not compromising on other important routines like the sleep hygiene, the play routine and the social meet ups with friends, it is ok for them to spend time on screens. So then it is more of a question of developing & executing a holistic & well chalked out routine in teens. And no more a question of how much screen time is appropriate for a 14 year old teen.

While we discuss the answer to this question “What is appropriate screen time for a 14 year old”, we have to take into consideration the few key points:

Screen Time in Teens can be divided into 3 major themes: Digital Entertainment Time, Useful Digital time & Digital Connections Time. Also just to say that these are the terms that I just came up with purely for their self explanatory reasons.

The Digital Entertainment Time is time teens use on playing video games, watching TV & Netflix, listening to music etc. However, the Useful Digital Time can have much broader boundaries. It can involve studying, researching, reading books or spending time on other interactive & educational resources. And lastly, The Digital Connections Time is time  teen spend in communicating & relationships online. 

Now rather than worrying over how much screen times for your teens, I think a better measure is what are they spending this time on. But still this questions needs a specific answer. So here is my formula for calculating the appropriate screen time for your 14 year old.

Starting with an hour of Digital Entertainment Time per day is an incredible beginning to setting the screen discipline for your 14 year old teen. Beyond this, it is ok to accept the constantly online mode of your teen as far as the Digital Connections Time is concerned. And Useful Digital time should be decided on the basis of your teens needs. 

However, don’t be too fixed on these time lines. We all need our breaks from the fixed schedules and routines often. So get in the human element to discuss any deviations you find in your Teen Screen Times. And do so while you throw your ego, blames and sarcasms outside the window. 

Also another point to be kept on mind is that a 14 year old will have a significant requirement to be online and gather information regarding a lot of school activities. While we are talking about setting rules for the digital time spent, it definitely excludes the online time needed for school activities. 

Talk Your Teens about Online Security

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

Parents, of course have a bigger role now to play in supervising content and other safety related aspects online. It is absolutely the parents’ prerogative to get in finer element of online safety and explain all relevant & age related safety challenges that teens can face online. Few pointers to keep a check on while having the discussion about screens are:

  • Teach your teen aspects of financial security like protecting credit card details and banking details online. 
  • Coach your teen on the rights & wrongs of the internet. Also teach them digital etiquette & compassion.
  • Online medium is not ideal for befriending strangers and also not sharing personal pictures, videos & other media.
  • Sharing personal information is a strict no on SM. Also set privacy settings to high security.
  • It is best not to respond to people or messages that appear threatening, appears unsafe or uncomfortable.
  • 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 in breaking many myths in your minds about screens being the ultimate demons in our teens’ lives. And I also hope you can now answer this question of what is appropriate screen time for your 14 year old teen confidently. 

Happy Surfing & Happy Parenting!

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