Interacting with teenagers can be intimidating, and having them constantly glued into their phones can make it even trickier. Can’t we all find ourselves a little too plugged in from time to time? Media and technology addiction is real, and can interfere with our ability to communicate with others if we let it. Once we’ve grown accustomed to a certain level of media time, it can be difficult to wean ourselves. It’s even more difficult to encourage our teens to spend less time on social media. So instead of fighting a long and ugly battle, start with one tiny thing.
Turn Off Notifications
You don’t need to fight with your teen to delete apps off their phone, take away their data, hound them constantly, or eventually revoke device privileges. None of these measures will effectively keep your teen from time consuming social media, anyway. Simply keeping them from social media will only make them want it more! Still, you need to place rules and guidelines around social media use in the home.
Instead, ask them to just turn off notifications for their social media apps. lt will even help if you pledge to do it with them. Go into settings and turn off notifications, sound alerts, notification bubbles, and push notifications for all social media. This means they won’t get constant pinging every time someone “likes” their posts or mentions them in a tweet. It means they won’t be scrambling for their phone every time there is a noise or a bubble catches their eye. It’s a quick and easy way to decrease social media time without putting hard deadlines or punishments on their fun time.
Turning off notifications takes away the power of social media to interrupt or control your teen’s time. How often have you noticed them pull away from a conversation, or take tens of micro-breaks in their study to respond to a ding of social media notifications? It’s hard not to feel like you’re missing out on something when the numbers of posts and responses are climbing. Instead, turning off notifications gives your teen (and you) a sense of control over social media and device usage.
Simply turning off notifications can teach your teen how to self-monitor and control their social media usage, and to not be controlled by it. It’s an easy way to begin involvement in your teen’s social media life without being overbearing or causing conflict.
Social Media Trouble
If you fear that your teen is too far gone for a straightforward notifications adjustment, you may need more serious help. If your troubled teen is involved with pornography, bullying, violence, or sexual promiscuity then he may be using social media to further those habits. Removing him from the situation with individualized treatment in a reputable boarding school may be the answer.
Regardless of where your teen stands, it’s time for you to get involved in his social media use so he can grow to be a happy, healthy, well-adjusted adult. It’s well worth the effort.