Teenagers can quickly become addicted to social media when they are first exposed to it and left to their own devices. It starts off innocent enough, as they use the platforms to keep up with friends and family and watch the occasional funny video. However, If you see signs that your teen may be obsessed with social media, here’s how to steer them towards healthier pursuits.
Create A Daily Routine
If teenagers see their parents using social media excessively, they are more likely to follow suit. Without a strongly structured routine, the teen’s day will start with checking their phone first thing in the morning, and it will be the last thing they do at night, despite their phone rarely leaving their sight during the day.
A rule of no phones or portable devices after a set time in the evening will help you control their access. Set up a routine that prevents teenagers from using their phones late at night by ensuring they are all put on charge somewhere central, like the parent’s bedroom rather than the child’s room.
Put Limits on Screen Time
Create a home environment where screen time is earned through chores and homework. Screen time should also be limited, which will vary depending on the child’s age.
Set Parental Controls on Devices
Android tablets and phones, Windows laptops, and iOS Apple devices all have parental controls you can modify. These features allow you to set the hours your teen can be connected to the internet and ask for parental permission for downloads. If these aren’t enough, there are third-party apps you can purchase that give you enhanced capabilities and control over what your child can do online. If all that sounds too complicated, you can always turn off the WiFi at the router.
Take Away Their Data Plan
While you have a lot of control over what your teenager can do in your home, you won’t be able to control what they do or see online when they are out and about with their phone and a data plan.
If your child has a serious social media obsession, you may need to put them on a dataless mobile phone plan. This way, they will only be able to connect when at home on Wi-Fi, but they will still be able to text and call. This extreme measure will likely generate open hostility, so be prepared to stand your ground.
Get Professional Help
The last person a social media-addicted teen will listen to is a parent trying to deny them access. If you are struggling to get your child to understand the consequences of their addiction, an unbiased, professionally trained teen life coach could help you get through to them.