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Embrace Thy Enemy

We can not wind back technology but we can be smart about how we use it and be conscious of if and how it uses us. This is a concept for us parents as well as our teen. By making screens the 'enemy' we as parents are by default making it seem like the best option for teens. We all know it is in their make-up that want to do things that we don't want them to do! I would love to say it was by design, but more likely by accident, that my overuse and over sharing on Facebook has resulted in my teens lecture me in 'safe use' and avoid doing what I am doing. 

Implement good habits with phone usage. Make it 'the norm' rather than 'the rule' for no phones at the dinner table. Live by example as role modelling is the best teaching method.

Phones are not going to go away, so embrace it and be smart about them.

Practice What You Preach

Screen-time can be a concern for both age groups, a shared journey that you should support one another on, not pit against each other. If you found that your usage of the phone was more than you were comfortable with, then use this as an opportunity to do a 'digital detox' with your teen. Support one another; share suggestions of what to do without the phone. This way it is a bonding exercise rather than a punishment. Set challenges and alternatives for one another, that way your teen is actively thinking and executing strategies that they can use for themselves once they become more consciously aware of their usage. 

If you are not willing to do reduce your screen time or phone usage then you have no right to demand your teen does. Don't be one of 'those' parents. 

Offer Alternatives

In an nutshell, screen time - be it laptops with Facebook, or playing online games - are ways in which our teenagers stay in touch with friends and 'unwind'.​ If you are concerned about your teen spending too much time 'connecting' with their friends in this fashion, then offer a valid alternative. Offer your home as a regular catch up location. Create a space and opportunity for friends to feel welcome coming over - or alternatively, feel comfortable with your teen going out to mates places. If you are not willing to have a bunch of teenagers over at your place, or for your teen to be elsewhere, then how else are they going to maintain the social connection that is much needed by this age group. Are your expectations realistic?

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