New reports say teens are now spending 9 hours of their awake time consuming media.
For tweens, the average daily screen time is 4 hours and 44 minutes.
For teens, that number spikes to 7 hours and 22 minutes.
These numbers are reported by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on helping children, parents and educators navigate the world of media and technology.
Let’s do a little math: We’ll assume that your teen sleeps 8 hours a day. Of 16 waking hours, approximately 9 hours are spent consuming media.
If your teen spends the majority of their waking hours on a cell phone, tablet, laptop computer, PS5, or in front of a TV, what portion of those hours is spent on quality time and family discussion?
- How many of us actually even take half an hour of uninterrupted time per day with our teen?
- How much time do you spend talking to your teen about issues other than just their homework?
- How well do you know their inner lives?
It’s a new year and a new chapter for you and your teen, so we’ve put together some ideas to help you interact with your teen.
Ways to Bond with Your Teen
- Schedule time daily with each of you, without your cell phones. That means you too, parents!
- Turn off the cell phones during dinner. I’ve seen families put their cell phones in a basket during the meal to avoid the temptation of answering or texting or Instagramming.
- Dig into the actual school subjects. Take the time to understand what your teen is studying. They may be struggling in ways you don’t understand or loving a particular teacher or subject that could change their lives.
- Exercise with your teen. Just taking a walk together could open the door to meaningful conversations.
- Encourage your teen to get together with their friends and just “hang” or play basketball at the school. Virtually all outdoor basketball courts are empty all the time.
- Look carefully at your teen. Do you see happiness in their eyes, or do you see sadness? Start a conversation on what you see.
- Find out who their friends are? Most teens hang with other teens who are similar to them. You can learn quite a bit about your teen by understanding their friends.
- Encourage your teen to have his/her friends over in the afternoon. Order pizza so they can all socialize. Good clean fun!
- Be someone your teen desires to share their feelings with. That means being open enough to hear them out.
- Do something fun with your teen each week. You would be surprised how fun, after a few objections, your teen will find this family time.
Please don’t be afraid to spend quality time with your teenager. Sometimes, the most spontaneous conversations are also the most meaningful conversations.
Wishing you a terrific 2021!
All my best,
P.S. Let us be a resource for you. Our website offers mental health information and resources for teens and young adults.
If you notice any warning signs, call your teen’s healthcare provider right away. If you need immediate help, call 2-1-1.