Help your Teen Manage “Screen Time”

Teenagers today get a lot of “screen time”. From Facebook to Twitter to
texting, it’s easy for teens to go overboard. Author,Vikki Carrel,
shares tips to help your teen manage social media live a balanced lifestyle.

Tweens and Teens have embraced and absorbed our ever-changing world
of technology. It is critical that youth learn to control technology and not
allow it to control them.

Teach teens that balancing their lifestyle is a CHOICE.

I. Teach teens to exercise self-discipline.

-Set specific FAMILY rules and boundaries in regard to technology and on-
line use. Be clear about the expectations and consequences. Teach teens
self-discipline through personal example.

SCENARIO: Teen son observes dad turn off his cell phone while driving the

LESSON: Parents teach by example. Research tells us that teens look to
their parents as role models.

2. Teach teens that an imbalanced life is the result of making poor

-Empower teens by teaching them to own their choices and the
consequences of each choice.

SCENARIO: Teen daughter is caught texting during math class and receives
a school detention.

LESSON: Help her own her choice and the consequence associated. Teach
her not to blame anyone but herself for the behavior. Self-esteem increases
when teens learn from their mistakes and take ownership.

3. Teach teens to plan ahead and avoid procrastination.

-Allow teens to make important decisions regarding their own schedules
and to experience from the benefits of effective and ineffective time

SCENARIO: Tween son chooses to turn off video games and spends time
writing his English paper. He earns an A on the paper.

LESSON: Praise him for his behavior. Discuss with tween son the positive
consequence for making a good choice. Too often we emphasize the
negative behavior and neglect to reinforce the positive behavior.

4. Teach teens to minimize distractions in their world.

– Teens will be empowered when they learn to control their use of

SCENARIO: Teen daughter is doing homework. She is on face book and her
cell phone is within reach. Research shows that multi-tasking while
studying is ineffective.

Lesson: Ask her to turn off her cell phone and face book while studying. Be
direct but kind with your request. Help teens create a distraction free
environment while studying.

5. Encourage teens to have fact to face relationships.

-Self-belief and confidence will increase as teens improve their
communication and social skills.

SCENARIO: While driving teen daughter and her friends to a movie you
observe that she and her friends are texting each other rather than having
a face to face conversation.

Lesson: Engage in a conversation with the girls by asking questions about
their day, the movie, school etc. Don’t expect in-depth answers but you
may be surprised what you learn about your daughter’s social skills.

The bottom line is parents cannot be with their teens 24/7. It is important
to teach them that balancing their lifestyle and managing social media is a

Vikki Carrel is an author, speaker and founder of The Empowerment

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