8 Ways to Avoid the Summertime Screen Binge

Posted on June, 12, 2023 by

It’s summer, or as I like to call it, “Summertime Screen Binge Season” where parents everywhere try to convince their teenagers, mostly unsuccessfully, to limit screen time and get outside.  We all generally know why too much screen time is not good, but there are additional reasons that don’t get as much attention, but really should.  

By definition, screen time is any time spent looking at a screen. So phones, computers, gaming consoles, TV, etc. all count.  Let’s quickly review why too much screen time is a bad habit…

Spending too much time with teens’ eyeballs stuck to a screen can: 

  • Lead to weight gain and obesity
  • Contribute to a shorter attention span
  • Involve excessive exposure to harmful themes and gameplay that promote violence, crime, bullying, racism, etc.
  • Be detrimental to your child’s social life
  • Cause kids to read less, fall behind on schoolwork, and earn poor grades
  • Reduce the amount and quality of sleep children get
  • Contribute to aggressive behavior

In a perfect world, limiting screen time would be a societal norm, and that may eventually happen.  But right now it’s more like the Wild West leaving it up to families to set boundaries.  The problem is, setting boundaries can be hard. There is generally adamant pushback from teens and many parents just do not want to deal with the fallout.  Remember, Screen Addiction Disorder is real and classified as a behavior disorder and should not be taken lightly.

So how do you as a parent reign in the screen time this summer? 

1) Have a well-thought-out plan. Make sure everyone in the home adheres to the plan.

2) Create a contract to set clear boundaries.

3) Place computers out of line-of-sight and remove gaming consoles and TVs from bedrooms

4) Have dinner together with no phones at the table, including yours.

5) Model the behavior you want.  No binging NetFlix, no games, or scrolling social media on your phone in the house or out with your teen. 

6) Beef up screen-free activities such as taking tennis or art lessons, cooking, gardening, etc

7) Encourage your teen to get a part-time job 

8) Concentrate on physical fitness like getting a gym membership, joining a running club, doing a 5k, or taking yoga. 

A good place to start is by making a list together of alternate activities and ask your teen to pick 3 that sound kind of interesting to explore and help them put it in motion. The most important thing is to refrain from telling them what to do or forcing an activity upon them.  To encourage your teen to avoid the summertime screen binge they need to feel like they have some control in order to be invested.