Technology, Screen Time and Your child or Teen

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Back to school and now your teenager wants to spend just a ‘few minutes’ on the computer before they do their homework!!! The most frequently asked question in therapy these days by parents is what is appropriate use of the computer?

These guidelines are helpful, however, your teenager may not like them! Best to start before they get older.  Remember, social media via instagram, snapchat, Facebook, means that anyone on social media is in your home, with your child! Use common sense.  Would you invite the person you are talking to on the computer/phone over for dinner?

Do not let your child have access to their phone overnight. If they say they need it to ‘listen to music’, buy a radio!

All electronics to be used in a common area, make sure they stay there! Once they go in the bedroom, your teenager may not come out for the next few years! You as a parent do have the right to look at what they post.  They also have the right to their privacy, negotiate the rules in the family before it is problematic.

Life/study/fun balance is a hard mix.  Rule of thumb recommended by clinical research is limited ‘screen time’ of phone, computer, tv, xbox etc etc to weekends if possible.  Internet addiction is sneaky, and bullies are sneaky and they both can creep into your home.  Be smart, safe and wise and talk to your child openly about the challenges that they face with every changing technology! Good luck! Happy school term 1, 2015. – Elise

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