Every once in awhile I come across a great article that really peaks my interest. This article began with a question that was asked to kids and teenagers. The question was “
f one were to survey teens, what percentage of teens would say that they are concerned about excessive screen time among teens?"
I think this is a very interesting question, one that I find myself asking, since I am the parent of a teenager.
The Pew Research Center just released the results of a survey from 743 teens and reports “Roughly nine-in-ten teens view spending too much time online as a problem facing people their age, including 60% who say it is a major problem.”
I myself was very surprised that so many teens report concerns. I know that I have concerns about my own children and their screen time, but I didn’t expect for teenagers to be so self-aware.
I think we can use the results of this survey as a great way to start conversations with our teens and pre-teens. I think a great question you can ask is “Given that a lot of teens say that they have tried to cut down on cell phone use, what ways do you think they may have tried?”
Below you will find examples that I pulled from the article of ways that teenagers have said they have used to cut down on screen time. Here are a few solutions to reducing screen time teens and youth have shared.
- Some report that they set the YouTube app on their phone so that YouTube automatically shuts off after 15 minutes.
- Some keep their cell phone out of the bedroom at night when they sleep.
- Some have taken the video console out of their bedroom.
- A pre-teen said she tells her mom to hold on to her cell phone until finishes her homework.
- A 15-year old boy said that he realized how playing an instrument used to be calming so he decided to take up a new one to get that feeling back and to rely less on screen time for downtime.
As parents (or as teachers, relatives, coaches, etc.) we always have a choice. Do we point out how our kids are overly using screens, or do we point out the times when they have made decisions not to be on screens? In my own life, I tend to point out the overuse. I have been thinking a lot about this question this week and have decided, with my own children, to be more positive about their decisions when they chose to do something that doesn’t involve a screen. I have also decided to brainstorm with them a list of activities they can do that do not involve screen time.
I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing holiday weekend!