5 Tips to Reduce Screen Addiction (for teenagers and beyond)

Reading time: 2

Beth Hartwell

Beth writes for the Teacher Toolkit site from a secondary perspective. She is currently a Lead Practitioner of Teaching and Learning at a school in York with a specialism of teaching secondary Science. She is currently teaching in a iPad school and is interested sharing...
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Do you know anyone that is addicted to technology?

The Nightingale Hospital was the first service dedicated to give young people support with a Technology Addiction –  for more information click here.

Technology is an amazing resource to learn and explore new opportunities, however, 63% of 11-18 year olds feel addicted to the internet. Whilst writing this I have a Twitter page open alongside a Facebook tab and a smart phone where I am talking to friends on Whatsapp and Snapchat – even I need to cut down on my usage sometimes.

Here are a few tips for parents to reduce a teenager’s screen usage:

5. Turning off notifications

As soon as you hear your ringtone or a notification pops up there is an instant urge to see what is happening. Turning off-key notifications reduces the disruption from revision and work. Flipd is an app that can be installed onto a device which blocks access to all apps (for a chosen length of time). Flipd turns off all distractions (you cannot even see the app icons) which is great for focusing the mind when revising or doing homework.

4. Substitute usage

Substituting a violent game that is played in the bedroom to a Xbox game with the whole family could be a positive step without reducing any screen time. Many educational games, such as Kahoot, can be played with the whole family promoting good use of technology. Why not have an augmented reality night? Quiver is a great app to explore augmented reality with. It is also suitable for all ages- making it great for a family night activity.

3. No screen zones

The school where I teach in has no screen zones – why not extend this at home? The dinner hall, seating areas, outside and corridors are all “no iPad zones” for both pupils and staff. Having clear zones at home where everyone can and cannot use their screens can enhance communication and can promote good usage of technology.

2. Time to stop

Having a set time at night for no technology is important for a good nights sleep. Blue light (produced from most tablets and phones) stops the hormone melatonin from being released, which ultimately changes our sleeping habits. Promoting reading a physical book in bed can encourage a natural sleeping pattern – this needs to be a rule for both adults and children for it to work!

1. Ongoing conversations

Recently a lawyer rewrote Instgram’s terms and conditions so that teenagers could understand what they have signed up to. Being taught about e-safety and using the internet first hand can be different – having ongoing conversations about the internet is so important. Creating an open and positive dialogue about social media and technology will allow for teenagers to come and talk when they need support.

Beth Hartwell writes for Teacher Toolkit

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