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Screen S.O.S: Unplugging the Teen Generation

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

Screen addiction is a major issue that has been gaining more attention in recent years as technology becomes more ubiquitous. With teens spending an increasing amount of time on their phones, tablets, and computers, it’s important for parents to be aware of the risks associated with this type of behavior. Screen addiction can lead to a range of negative consequences, ranging from poor academic performance to depression and anxiety. In order, to keep your teen safe from the potential dangers of screen addiction, it’s important to set boundaries and expectations around their usage. Studies have shown that excessive screen time can lead to problems such as sleep deprivation, social isolation, lack of physical activity, and even obesity. Teens who spend too much time on screens are also at risk for mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. They may find themselves struggling with low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, or even become addicted to video games or online activities. It’s important for parents to recognize the signs of screen addiction in their children so they can intervene before it becomes an issue. Signs of screen addiction include ignoring family members or responsibilities in favor of screen time, decreased interest in other activities or hobbies, irritability when not allowed to use screens, and difficulty concentrating on tasks that don’t involve screens. As a parent, it’s important to set boundaries around screen usage and role model healthy behaviors yourself. Establish limits for when your teen can use screens and what types of activities are acceptable (e.g., no gaming after 9 PM). You should also monitor your own usage so that you have an understanding of what is normal for your teen—if you notice yourself spending too much time on devices then chances are your child may be doing the same thing and need help managing their own habits. It’s also important to prioritize physical activity by encouraging your teen to get up off the couch every now and then and do something active outside the home like jogging or playing sports with friends. Additionally, encourage them to engage in real-life conversations with peers instead of just texting all the time; discuss topics they care about or join clubs with like-minded individuals instead of turning solely towards gaming online for entertainment purposes. Encourage healthy relationships with real people rather than creating virtual ones where there is no accountability or true connection being made. Lastly, if you feel like your child needs professional help managing their screen addiction you should seek out resources such as a coach or therapy sessions with a mental health provider who specializes in tech addictions or support groups specifically designed for teens struggling with this issue. There are many great resources available both online (like counseling apps) and offline (like youth organizations) that offer support for young people struggling with excessive device usage.

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