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Q:

How can I help my preteen develop healthy boundaries with technology and screen time?

Hi everyone,

I am a parent of a preteen who is constantly glued to his phone, tablet, or computer. I am concerned about the effects of excessive screen time on his physical and mental well-being. I have noticed that he is becoming more irritable and having trouble sleeping. I want to help him develop healthy boundaries with technology and screen time, but I am not sure where to start.

I would love to hear from other parents or experts who have experience with managing preteens' screen time. How do you encourage your child to disconnect and engage in other activities? What rules or guidelines have you put in place to ensure a healthy balance? Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

All Replies

destin.hoppe

Hello,

I'm a parent of a preteen, and I completely understand your concerns about your child's screen time. In our case, we set up house rules with our preteen that we agreed upon together. Together, we decided to limit screen time during weekdays to not more than two hours per day and up to four hours on weekends. We threw in a few exceptions, like using their phone for a call with friends or schoolwork.

We found that setting up these rules were just one part of the equation. It's equally integral to be a role model for healthy device use. We block off some periods during the day where we engage in family activities like playing games, watching a family movie or going out to play. This helps to disconnect from screens and engage with the world around you.

We also sought to understand what exactly my preteen was doing with screens. It turns out, they were watching a lot of silly videos or browsing their social media profiles for hours. Once we understood the patterns, we worked with them on finding more constructive pursuits like learning a new hobby, reading, or working on their creative projects.

All in all, it takes patience, persistence, and communication to help your preteen strike a balance between screen time and other activities. With a concerted effort from both parent and child, we can establish healthy habits that will carry over even as they grow older.

rsimonis

Hello everyone,

As a parent of a preteen, I understand how difficult it can be to set and enforce boundaries around screen time. It's essential to prioritize the child's needs, while still balancing their digital lives with the rest of their life.

In my experience, it's critical to make the discussion open and honest. I check-in frequently with my child to hear their opinions and ideas, and we work together in creating an age-appropriate set of boundaries that they can manage effectively.

One method that has been very helpful is creating a daily schedule that we review at the beginning of each week. This creates predictability, routine and teaches them goal management, which comes in handy as they grow older.

For example, if they have online classes or homework to complete, we prioritize screen time during those periods. We then allocate time for non-screen activities and offline reading or creative writing. I have found that instead of limiting screen time, teaching them self-regulation and responsibility transpires more positive results.

Finally, as a parent, it's essential to lead by example. Setting aside my devices while spending quality time with my child or scheduling 'tech-free' family days and weekends sets a better tone for implementing stricter boundaries. This allows parents to connect with their child without the distraction of digital devices.

All in all, creating a balance takes work, patience, creativity, empathy and effective communication. With consistent efforts and some brainstorming and flexibility, you can develop great habits that will help your family thrive.

brown.larson

Hi there,

As a parent of a preteen, I completely understand the challenges of limiting screen time within a household. In my family's situation, we found that it was helpful to create a variety of activities outside of screens that would allow for engaging experiences that don't involve electronic devices.

One thing we did was to prioritize group activities that we could all participate in together, such as taking walks, bike rides or hikes. These activities provided some exercise opportunities while also allowing us to spend quality time together.

On the other hand, when we were indoors, we tried to limit available electronic devices so that my preteen and other family members weren't glued to them all day. We would pre-schedule TV, laptop or tablet time, so everyone was aware of when the screens would be available, but also aware of when other activities should be prioritized.

It's also crucial that we as parents find our own ways to disconnect. What are our own hobbies, interests, and activities we could do that don't involve screens? Maybe a book club, art class or playing a musical instrument? Whatever we choose, it's important to model it for our kids so that they grow to see the value of engaging beyond a digital environment.

Ultimately, screen time is not inherently harmful or wrong. However, it's critical that we help our preteens learn how to balance their device and screen time with other activities that are beneficial to their growth, development and overall well-being.

koepp.demario

Hello,

As a parent of a preteen, I know how challenging it can be to limit screen time. When our preteen was younger, we used to set limits on the amount of time they spent in front of screens. However, we realized that our child wasn't getting adequate screen time management experience and didn't understand the importance of moderation.

So, instead of enforcing time limits, we opted to teach them the importance of breaks and balance, which helped them to learn how to regulate their screen time independently. We sat down together to make a to-do list for the day, and this helped them to structure their time wisely.

We also developed a system of rewards for achieving personal goals and objectives, such as reading or outdoor activities over particular screen activities like hours of binge-watching or gaming. The type of incentives could vary, but we made sure it was something that they were genuinely excited about.

Moreover, we prioritize open conversations about social media safety, cyberbullying, or inappropriate internet behavior. This helps alleviate all our fears and concerns while still ensuring the child is safe as they navigate online space.

In all, helping preteens develop healthy boundaries with technology requires a lot of patience and communication, but it is rewarding to see them take control of their habits and practice them consistently.

napoleon29

Hi everyone,

I have a preteen who is currently going through a phase of excessive screen time. For a while, we tried setting strict time limits, but we found that it wasn't really effective. We noticed that our child was always looking for ways to circumvent the rules that we had established, which only led to arguments and frustration.

After some trial and error, we realized that what works best for our family is to give our preteen choices around screen time. Instead of dictating what they can or cannot do with their devices, we have an open conversation about what they want to do and when. We then collaborate together to strike a balance between screen time and other activities.

We also work on creating alternatives to screen-based activities, such as puzzles, board games, and art supplies. We let our preteen lead the way in deciding what they want to do in their free time, so they feel a sense of control and ownership over their choices.

Additionally, we encourage them to take part in activities that don't revolve around screens. They are involved in sports, music classes and other hobbies that they find interesting. We also schedule regular family outings and events to create an environment in which screen time is less prominent.

Ultimately, every family has to find what works best for them. But our approach is to give our preteen choices and the freedom to make decisions, while also providing healthy alternatives, rather than dictating strict rules about screen time.

ekuhn

Hello!

I completely empathize with what you're going through. In my case, my preteen was also spending more time on the screen than engaging in other activities, which led to an increase in their frustration and moodiness.

To address this, we established consistent routines around device use. We agreed that they would use their phone only during specified periods of the day, and that they would put them away before bed-time, so they could wind down without any stimulation from the screens.

We also made a point to set clear expectations around certain activities. For instance, we wanted our kid to spend a few hours each week engaging in physical activity or artistic pursuits. We noticed that gradually their screen time reduced, and there were fewer incidents of grumpiness or frustration.

It takes some work to get your preteen to see the benefit of healthy device use habits. But, with a little patience, persistence and incentivizing, you can motivate them to be more cognizant of using their devices without causing them harm.

fiona49

Hi there,

I totally understand your concerns about your preteen's screen time. As a parent myself, I have also struggled with managing my kids' device use. One strategy that has worked for me is to set specific rules and boundaries around screen time.

For example, my kids are allowed to use their devices for 30 minutes after doing their homework and chores. They also have a maximum of two hours of screen time on weekends. However, if they use their screens for educational purposes or creative activities, we may be flexible with these rules.

Another thing that has worked for us is to encourage other hobbies and interests. We have signed up our kids for sports, art classes, and other extracurricular activities, which helps to reduce their dependence on screens. We also try to model healthy device use ourselves and limit our own screen time when we are around our kids.

It's important to remember that every family is different, and what works for one may not work for another. It may take some trial and error to find the right balance for your family. But with patience and consistency, you can help your preteen develop healthy boundaries with technology and screen time.

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