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Managing Teen Screen Time When Attending Online High School

Written by James Madison High School on Monday, 14 January 2019. Posted in For Parents, Helpful Tips

Managing Teen Screen Time When Attending Online High School

How much is too much–screen time, that is? Teens already spend a lot of time texting, tweeting, snapping, and more. And if they opt for online high school, you might be afraid they’ll never get out from behind the screen. Your concerns are not misguided.

Excessive levels of screen time in children and teenagers have been linked with obesity and sleep problems. Naturally you don’t want online high school to contribute to these types of effects in your teenager. Fortunately, you can use some creative approaches to manage screen time for your teenager so he or she can stay healthy and do well in school. Try these strategies to help the whole family get out from behind the screen more often.

Set Household Rules for Electronics Usage

You can start by setting global rules for when your family will and will not use electronic devices. Emphasize the importance of limiting screen time for everyone by setting some household rules for electronics usage, such as:

  • No devices at mealtime.
  • Everyone places their devices in a common charging area (such as the kitchen) two hours before bedtime and may not retrieve them until a set time the next morning.
  • No device usage when attending an event, such as a child’s soccer game, a movie at the theater, or any other activity that deserves undivided attention.
  • No device usage during designated study periods for all the students in your household, not just the teenager attending online high school.

It’s crucial for you to model this behavior consistently yourself if you want your teens to follow the rules, too. Inconsistency in adult behavior (or the perception of a double standard) confuses teenagers, and they won’t hesitate to call you out if you don’t follow your own rules.

Participate in Sports

There’s no reason a teenager studying from home should miss out on the common activities offered by brick-and-mortar high schools, and that includes sports. Find a recreational league so your teen can enjoy athletic competition. For kids who don’t like team sports, look into dance classes, aerobics at the local gym, or other types of fitness activities. The important thing is to help them get moving.

Take Art Classes

If your child isn’t athletically inclined, find a different type of activity that's outside of the house. Drawing classes, pottery workshops, and other types of art classes allow for creative expression and social time. Plus, you can’t hold a cell phone while both of your hands are molding clay.

Schedule Mini “Digital Detox” Periods for the Family

Another good way to model the importance of limited screen time is to schedule activities during which everyone in the family turns off their devices–or just leaves them at home. Plan a weekly museum trip, hiking session, or day at the beach without devices for the entire duration. You’ll hear plenty of grumbling at first, but substituting face-to-face time for social media can be a real bonding experience for the family. After everyone makes it through the digital detox, offer some sort of treat–a reward for being good sports about it.

Play Non-Digital Games Together

Hold a weekly game night for the family to play cards, board games, or whatever types of games your family enjoys. Engaging in these types of activities not only solidifies family bonds but develops areas of the brain responsible for creative thinking and strategizing. You can even build in a friendly rule that device usage during the game incurs some sort of penalty that makes it harder to win if you peek at your phone.

Learn More About Online High School for Your Teenager

Parents often have a lot of questions about online high school. We understand, and we aim to partner with you to help your child get a quality education. Talk to an Admissions Advisor today to get answers about how online high school might benefit your teen.

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James Madison High School

James Madison High School

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