In moderation, TV, computer games and online activities can be fun and educational. But if you’re worried about your teenager’s screen time, here are some tips for encouraging healthy technology use.
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests too much screen time is becoming a hazard to our children’s eyes, general health and to their social skills. Too much screen time can also make it harder for your teenager to get to sleep and to concentrate on their schoolwork.
Tips for healthy technology use for your teen:
- Try to agree on some reasonable limits for technology use according to your teenager’s age – such as times of the day that will be technology free.
- Encourage your teen to take regular breaks from the screen.
- Find activities your teenager enjoys doing that are not screen based, and encourage them to do them regularly— visit friends and family, play a sport or join the crowd to watch a game, go for a walk, play music or cook. When they’re having fun, screen time will suddenly become a lot less attractive.
- Try to keep technology out of your teen’s bedroom and, where possible, make sure phones, TVs and computers are kept where you can keep an eye on their use.
- Encourage your teenager to turn off all screens about an hour before they go to sleep. Research shows that using these items too close to bedtime makes it harder to fall asleep.
- If your teen wears glasses, check with their optometrist about suitability for screen use.
- Let your teenager know that they shouldn’t hold their screens too close to their eyes, especially for long periods of time.
- Help your teen to set up their computer workspace properly, including a chair that encourages good posture.
- Set a good example. Your teen is more likely to take time off from their own screens if they see you doing the same.
Also, talk to your teenager about cybersafety. They need to know they should keep their passwords to themselves and never share personal details. Check out the resources on the Office of the eSafety Commissioner website.