Now that the summer is in full swing, it’s easy to lose sight of how your teens are spending their time off. While they are most likely socializing with their friends and enjoying their freedom, establishing boundaries for social media usage is essential to your teens’ health and well-being. When teens are bored during the summer, it’s normal for them to turn to social media. Before they know it, they’ve spent hours aimlessly scrolling through their newsfeeds!
Here are some tips for helping your teens unplug and make the most of their summer vacation:
Prioritize. Getting your teens to be productive and prioritize their time is essential for reducing the effects of excessive social media usage. Consider asking your teen about an activity he or she would like to try this summer, such as tennis, hiking or photography. Then hold your teen accountable for working toward that goal and researching what they must do to achieve it. Rather than become entrenched in the social media world, this will help your teen focus on working toward something meaningful – on his or her own terms!
Use a calendar. No matter how minimal or short-term something may be, putting things on a calendar is key. Keeping teens occupied with some level of structure is critical for getting them off their phones and setting them up for success. Whether it’s summer reading or a new sport, help your teen map out a realistic schedule that will keep him or her on track to reach their goals. Remember, the point of summer planning should not be to block off activities from morning to night, but to be more constructive and purposeful.
Establish “no phone” time. The summer is the perfect time to reconnect with your teens and promote family bonding. Establishing daily “no phone” periods is integral for setting social media boundaries and getting your teens to be active. For many families, this may be dinner time or weekly family movie or game nights in which no phones are allowed. Whatever you do, block off some time each day in which your teens aren’t permitted to be on their phones and are expected to engage in the present.
The purpose of setting social boundaries is not to punish or restrict teens, but rather make sure they’re making the most of their summer - without letting the distractions of social media get in the way! Putting the practices above into action for your family will help your teens have a healthy summer, filled with both fun and productivity.