Your teenager has probably spent lots of time online this summer. You might be noticing that her level of connectivity has become problematic since the school year has begun.
Does this resemble your teen’s routine? At the end of each day, she sets a morning alarm on her iPhone and then checks her Instagram one last time before turning in. Several hours later: the smart phone alarm goes off and before she gets out of bed, she opens the Insta first thing to see what she missed overnight. Then, and only then will she start her day.
How Cell Phones Hold Teens Back
This routine can sidetrack teens and interrupt their studies.
It can also affect their sleep. Common Sense Media indicated that 68% of teenagers keep their phones by their beds; in fact, 29% of teens keep their phones in their beds with them! They’re worried about missing out on texts, calls, or other notifications during the night.
Lack of face-to-face time
Technology can also interrupt relationships and normal social interactions. Parents should insist that their teens have an understanding of cell phone etiquette. One useful starting point can be a parent-to-child cell phone contract that establishes guidelines as to where and when your teen can use his or her phone.
Is a Digital Detox Needed?
There is, however, another facet of responsible phone use that many parents are becoming more aware of – teens should take time off from technology.
What if you, along with your teen, decided to put away your cell phone for a set time frame on a prearranged period?
Pick a time
It might be challenging during the week, when they need to be digitally connected in order to complete their homework. The weekend is an ideal time. It could be spending a Friday night with everyone’s phones and laptops powered off. Or a full weekend without of tech gadgets. Whichever it is, your entire family stands to benefit from a digital detox.
Take the leap
While it might be difficult to get your teen to agree to separate from his or her devices, a digital detox quiz can quickly evaluate the need. This true/false quiz prompts you to answer statements like “You feel anxious about the next time you’ll be able to use your phone or computer,” “When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you reach for is your smart phone,” and “You have walked into a wall, pole, pothole, or other objects while looking down at your phone.”
After answering 21 questions, your teen might receive a recommendation to undergo a digital detox. Encourage your teen to be honest when answering – we’re all responsible for our actions, no matter how old we are.
Recall the earlier example of the teen; her final thoughts before falling asleep are of texts and notifications, and her first impulse when she wakes is to open the Facebook app on her phone. It’s an unhealthy digital existence.
Concentrate on real life
Digital detoxing in the middle of a digitally-dependent world is an ideal opportunity.
Concentrate on what’s really important in life – personal relationships and real conversations – and not just the ones online!