Today’s pre-teens and young teens spend hours a day on cell phones. While cell phones are great for staying connected with friends and family, too much screen time can be harmful to development.
Limiting screen time is a huge challenge for many teens, but there are ways you can help make it a positive experience.
Dangers of Too Much Screen Time
Too much screen time is harmful to people of all ages, but pre-teens and teens tend to have a hard time finding the limit. Some of the ways excessive screen time can affect people include:
- Straining the eyes and neck.
- Sleep deprivation. Blue light disrupts the body’s production of sleep hormones.
- Lower self-esteem from too much time in the virtual world and comparing to the highlight reels of other people.
- Inactivity and obesity. Sitting on screens doesn’t keep the body moving, and can cause people to gain weight.
What’s The Cell Phone Challenge?
One great way to help your kids spend less time on their cell phones is with the cell phone challenge. Rather than punishing screen time or making it into a battle, the cell phone challenge can feel like a fun game. The premise is to designate a set time to not be on your phone. The amount of time can depend, it could be a few hours or even one whole day.
Tips for the Cell Phone Challenge
Here are some ways to make the cell phone challenge more fun and effective:
- Do it as a family. Chances are, you spend too much time on screens as well! Make the challenge activity for the whole family.
- Explain the importance. Kids are a lot more receptive to explanations than demands. Explain the importance of the challenge and the risks of too much cell phone use.
- Add a reward. Raise the stakes with a small prize. If everyone is able to meet the cell phone challenge, you could get ice cream that night or give all the kids $5.
- Plan something fun. If your kids are just sitting around during the challenge, it will be boring and very difficult. Help the time fly by and show them other enjoyable activities they can do instead of sit on their phones. Try a family game night, reading, sports, etc.
The cell phone challenge is a great way to help your whole family take a break from cell phones and screens. It’s a useful activity you can use to get teens off their phones. Take advantage of the time and do something fun!