Phones, technology and social media are everywhere around us these days. We are all guilty of spending too much time scrolling through the latest posts, texting into our group chats to find out the tea or checking how many likes our recent selfie has gotten.
We think we can all agree that social media, phone and the internet, in general, have their pros and cons, and as parents, we know you want to protect your daughters from all the nastiness that is online. But, being the devil’s advocate, did you know all of this technology is a great way to chat with friends, seek inspiration, and find out what’s going on in the world? How else would they be able to keep up with us 🙂
But it is good to know exactly what we’re dealing with, and research has found that depression linked to social media is two times higher in girls than in boys. Two-fifths of girls use social media for over three hours a day, which seems to be related to our mood and sleep patterns.
Listen, we know there is nothing on this green Earth that would convince your daughter to give up their phone, but what if we were to give you some tips for supporting her in having a more positive social media experience? Maybe help her reduce her anxiety and truly put an end to her FOMO (fear of missing out).
Number One: Suggest She Tracks Her Online Time For A Couple Of Days
You’d be surprised how much time we all actually spend scrolling every single day. There is a heap of apps out there to help track your scrolling habit. They can even generate free reports, but be warned, they may not be pretty! If social media is becoming a distraction from more important things like studying or sleep, there are even apps like Cold Turkey, which will ban some sites for specific times.
Why not lead by example and also track your scrolling? Together, you can then come up with a plan to reduce your scrolling time and put your energy into something more productive.
Number Two: Mute Notifications
We’re all guilty of leaping to our phones as soon as it makes a little ding, buzz or beep, only to dismiss a notification and put it down again. Why not try muting notifications for certain times of the day? Start small and remember, silence is golden.
Number Three: Give Her Phone A Bedroom
It’s not as crazy as it sounds, we promise. Sometimes, when our phones feel like they are surgically attached to us, they even come to be with us. Your brain deserves a break. Why not suggest that your teen gives her phone a bedtime and tuck it into a kitchen drawer. Give it a goodnight kiss if she wants to, as long as her bedroom becomes a no-phone zone.
Now, this is a given. Her privacy is key. So, if she does leave her phone out of her sight, respect her and no snooping, please and thank you!
Number Four: Don’t Hit It First Thing
This works perfectly if her phone is not in her room. This allows her and her brain a chance to wake up before being bombarded with information. Start small. See if she can wake up and get dressed before reaching for a phone. Then see if she is benefitting from the break, and maybe she’d like to push herself further. Once she is up and moving, she can scroll away.
Number Five: Keep Her Hands Busy
Did you know that a lot of scrolling is actually just a form of fidgeting? Why not suggest some alternative activities that you can do together? Make a jigsaw, bake a cake or play a board game? But for the love of God, no Monopoly. No one needs that kind of chaos in their lives.
So, those are some of our tips. But something we want you to take from this is that your teen can’t be forced into doing this. Layout all of the information for her, let her process and then support her in her choices. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing; life is all about BALANCE. See if she can cut down a little, and see if either of you notice a difference.
P.S. Why not take some of this advice yourself and as we said, lead by example? Good luck!
If you’d like a little more support, check out Dr. Tara Porter’s SHINE Festival 2022 video – Is My Phone Affecting My Brain? She has worked in CAMHS for 25 years so if we want to know how our phones are affecting our minds, she’s the one to ask! Spoiler Alert, sorry but our phones are 100% contributing to our stress levels!
If you would like to support us and the work that we do, you can donate below