In an age where your time spent online can be close to as meaningful as your time spent offline, it can be difficult for your teen to find the balance between the two. However, with our tips, you can encourage your teen to appreciate their “real life” time just as much as the time they spend with their video games, phone, laptop, or tablet.
1. Find a creative alternative. Oftentimes, our kids give us the excuse, “But I’m bored, and there’s nothing else to do!” When this justification comes to the horizon, it’s up to us, as parents, to find exciting options to take up their time instead of playing on their iPhone. A few? Try a fun park—like a skate park, amusement park, or otherwise—hikes, museums (the kind teens will like), games, etc. There are also seasonal options like sledding or going for a swim. Since you know your teen best, you should get creative and figure out what they most enjoy. You can also ask them to make a list of their interests and go from there.
2. Make a room in the house free of electronics. Whether it’s your teens’ bedrooms, the living room, the dinner table, or otherwise, set a ban. It sounds a little harsh, but when a majority of teens have access to electronics in places like their room, it’s time to make it happen. If you make the ban at the dinner table, for example, you will have more time to bond with and actually speak to your kids about their day without anyone’s nose stuck in a phone. Don’t forget, the ban goes for you, too!
3. Take it one step further by banning electronics from all family time. Unless you’re participating in them together—like playing video games—it’s best to let family time be family time. Without the interruption of texts or social media notifications, you can better appreciate and get to know each other.
4. Charge everyone’s phones together. There are several different charging stations you can buy that you can keep in a place like your kitchen. You can charge many electronics at once, so why not keep them out of your rooms at night (which can lead to a better night’s sleep) by keeping them all at the station when you sleep?
5. Be the best example. We can preach to our kids day in and day out, but the fact of the matter is, if your face is glued to your phone, their faces will be too. If you want your child to be a great example of an offline teen, be an offline parent. You don’t have to get rid of electronics all together, of course, but by spending time with your family when you should be and sleeping without your phone by your side, you show your child that they, too, can exist without the constant pull of social media and more.