Teens and Technology: 3 Tips For Limiting the Noise

Teens and Technology: 3 Tips For Limiting the Noise

boy using phone while father drives car

It’s hard to find someone who isn’t carrying a smartphone and scrolling social media daily. We’re in constant touch with each other, showcasing our lives and peeking at others’. 

As revolutionary as technology is, it can also be distracting, even isolating. Overuse and overconsumption can cause inattention, anxiety, depression, and in some cases, a dangerously sedentary lifestyle.

For teens, scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok can exacerbate their insecurities, dull their motivation, and even lead to serious illness. According to a
recent article in The Wall Street Journal, an eating disorder specialist at Johns Hopkins Hospital estimated that nearly 50% of her patients developed eating disorders from social media.

Some teens might suffer from “Facebook depression,”  a term coined several years ago by the American Academy of Pediatrics and described as a “depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression.”

In today’s world, technology is unavoidable. Your teen will likely use it daily for the rest of their lives — at school, at work, and for entertainment. But you can help them learn how to consume it in moderation.

Here are three tips for helping your teen set some technology boundaries:

Encourage activities at home or after school that don’t involve technology.

There are lots of activities your son or daughter can participate in that don’t involve being glued to a device. A few possibilities include:

  • Playing a sport 
  • Earning money through a part time job 
  • Participating in the youth group at your church
  • Volunteering for a local non-profit organization
  • Picking up a new hobby or interest that doesn’t involve a screen

Set guidelines at home that limit the use of phones, tablets, and laptops. Consider no phones at the dinner table, only an hour of video games a day, or no devices after dinner. 

Set an example for your teen.

Are you always spending time on your phone, even scrolling through social media? Does family dinner include a good meal and devices? If you try tip #1, be sure to follow the rule(s) you establish.

Your child watches everything you do; show them what life looks like without being completely absorbed by a device. Take a walk. Read a book. Try a new recipe. Join a Bible study group. Find joy in daily activities and your teen will take note.

Have an open dialogue with your teen about the damaging effects of social media. Be honest about any insecurities you might have when scrolling through your Instagram feed. Encourage them to do a little digging into the negative effects of social media, including the
latest scrutiny of Facebook,  in hopes they’ll be more discerning about the content they consume and how often they consume it. 

Consider a school with a tech policy that limits access to phones. 

When considering a middle or high school for your child, review the school’s technology policy. Most private Christian schools will have a policy in place to help protect the minds and hearts of students.

phone storage in classroom

At Hillcrest Academy, we have guidelines in place to ensure our students interact more with their teachers and each other than with their devices.  Students are required to place their powered-off devices in phone pockets when they enter the classroom, chapel, and other events. We encourage personal interaction and conversation; cell phone use isn’t allowed during lunch, and earbuds or headphones are not allowed when students are walking to and from classes.

And in regards to social media and email, Hillcrest Academy students are expected to respect themselves, others, and their school through any online engagement. 

Learn more about Hillcrest Academy and how your teen can thrive in high school.

Download our 5 Important Questions to Ask Before You Choose a High School and schedule a visit today.

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