Smart Tech Needs Smart Usage – Help Your Teen Maintain Balance Through The Summer Months

It’s summer and your teen’s schedule is wide open. They may be staying up late, enjoying their lack of responsibilities, and inevitably, spending more time on their phone or computer.

This increase in screen time isn’t always a “bad” thing – but at Teen Speak, we love to gently remind you that Smart Tech Needs Smart Usage.

As parents, we know you want to maintain your teen’s safety – physically, mentally, and emotionally, and a large part of this is creating smart boundaries with tech. While some of this is the amount of time spent on screens, we would like to focus more on WHAT they are consuming.

These 3 steps will help you guide your teen in creating healthy boundaries online, this summer and beyond!

  1. In order to create healthy boundaries, it’s important to know what platforms your teen is on and understand what they are doing during their screen time. Simply by showing interest in what they are spending their time doing will create accountability on their part. A straightforward list of do’s and don’ts online will remove any second guessing of expectations on your teen’s part. Allow your teen to be a part of this conversation and respect their input.

    Example: Allow your teen an Instagram/TikTok account, but make sure their account is not public.

    You can even have them show you on occasion what apps are on their phone/computer. We recommend these random “check-ins” so they anticipate your eyes on their tech. This isn’t to invade their privacy, it’s simply a step in keeping your teen safe online. Open conversations will go a long way in helping your teen maintain these agreed-upon boundaries.
  2. During the summer months, have clear expectations of the amount of time your teen is allowed to spend on their screens. We recommend a maximum of 3 hours per day, but we know how hard that can be to enforce as phones are glued to their side.

    Rather than making tech the “bad guy” – give your teen many options of responsibilities and activities they can do that don’t include tech. Together, you can agree on what their daily routine can look like and what responsibilities need to be checked off before they can jump online.

    Example: Start each morning with 1 hour of outdoor time to walk the dogs / practice their sport / bike with siblings.
  3. Prior to starting conversations with your teen about their tech usage, we highly recommend reading articles and educating yourself on the social platforms currently popular and the impact they can have on teens. This is a great place to start.

    Coming into a conversation with knowledge and reasons you want to create boundaries is key. Have an honest 2-way conversation with your teen and give them the space to express their concerns and suggestions on the boundaries you hope to establish, as well as provide fun alternatives they will enjoy throughout the summer.

And if you’re looking to uplevel your communication skills with your teen – we have a microlearning that takes just 5 minutes a day and will help you understand their unique language and communication style. Learn more about it here!

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