Controlling Tech Time with Teens

Controlling Tech Time with Teens

by Heather Hibbard
MA, LPC-S,
Lifeworks
businessoffice@lifeworkscc.com

It’s time we accept that our small gadgets are a big part of our everyday lives. With ongoing advances in technology, we can do almost anything and talk to almost anyone we want to through our smart devices. In my practice, I see many teens who are addicted to their devices, and their parents have trouble regulating the amount of time spent using them. There are several ways to implement screen control, but how do parents stay consistent when their teens use every excuse, and often good ones, to keep their devices in hand 24/7.

Most common excuses

  • I need it for homework.
  • I’m just like every other teenager, no one else’s parents do this.
  • My friends will think I’m ignoring them if I don’t answer.
  • You are on your phone all the time, too.
  • If you take my phone, I will be “more depressed.”

What parents can do

  • Create a cell phone contract with your teen outlining the rules and standards for phone use.
  • Set a “Tech Bed Time.” Your teen doesn’t have to go to bed at this time, but their devices are turned off and turned in.
  • Try to limit the amount of time you spend on your own smart devices.
  • When your teen is showing resistance to tech limitations provide empathy to show you understand how they feel, instead of lecturing or arguing with them.
  • If your teen mentions they will be depressed if they can’t keep their phone, or verbalize suicidal ideation or threats, move forward with taking their device while making sure they remain in your line of sight for their safety.

If you would like help with living well, we encourage you to start the conversation. Live well. Let us help.


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