Social media has a strong effect on the way teens live their lives. It’s not just “something” teens do; it’s an integrated part of their lives. However, teens often spend way too much time on social media, whether it’s YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or others. They might feel like they’re missing out on real-life because they spend so much time looking at pictures and videos of themselves and others. And while this may seem harmless to some parents, it can have very negative consequences. There are many studies that point to the addictiveness of social media for teens.
Preventing your teen from falling into the social media trap is nearly impossible; they will spend their free time doing something, and you can’t stop that. However, there are ways you can help them reduce the addictiveness of social media and reclaim their lives for themselves. Read this article to get some of the best ways to minimize these effects.
10 Easy Habits To Help You Spend Less Time On Social Media
Social media has become a part of our daily lives, and it’s used by people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds — but it can also have some negative effects. Various experts have officially stated that kids under 18 should avoid social media altogether instead focus on face-to-face communication. But what about those who are already addicted to social media? How do we break the habit? Here are some ways you can cut back on your time spent on social media:
1. Be aware of how much time you’re spending on social media.
The first step is to be aware of how much time you spend on these platforms. Set a timer for yourself for one week or month and see how much time you spend scrolling through YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter daily. You might be surprised by the results! You could even try using a tool like RescueTime, which tracks all the sites you visit and keeps track of how much time you spend each day on them. This will give you an idea of where your problem areas are so that you can figure out how to reduce them in the future.
2. Utilize the mute (or unfollow) button
If someone posts content, you don’t want to see or read, use the mute or unfollow feature. This will still allow them to post but not show up in your feed until they change it or post something else. You can also block certain people from seeing your posts, so they won’t know what you’re doing unless they follow you back later on their own accord.
3. Don’t check your phone before 10 am
Set a rule that you won’t check your phone until after breakfast, so you don’t get sucked into starting the day by checking your phone. If you don’t want to go cold turkey, try setting a timer and picking it up when it goes off or turning off Wi-Fi during certain hours of the day.
4. Turn off notifications
Notifications from apps like Instagram or Snapchat can be distracting and addictive for teens. Turn off notifications on these apps so that you aren’t tempted to open them just because you see a notification on their lock screen. Ensure all notifications are turned off, so there isn’t anything else distracting you from whatever task you are supposed to do.
5. No phones at the table
The first step is to establish family rules about phone use at home. No phones at the table when eating dinner is a good rule for many families because it helps keep everyone present during mealtime — an essential part of family bonding and conversation. It also helps prevent screen time from interrupting conversations with friends or siblings during meals or other activities (e.g., playing board games).
6. Get an accountability buddy.
A study found that having an accountability buddy who checks in with you when you’re supposed to be working or studying helps reduce procrastination and helps people get more done at work or school. If your teen has trouble staying focused, they might benefit from having someone check in with them periodically when they’re supposed to be doing homework or studying for a test.
7. Leave your phone in another room.
One of the simplest ways to spend less time on your phone is to not bring it into the room where you spend most of your time online — like your bedroom or kitchen. If you need your phone for emergencies or want to play games on an app like Candy Crush Saga, leave it in another room where it will be harder to reach when you need it least.
8. Change up the location of social media apps on your phone.
To limit access, consider moving social media apps out of sight or changing where they appear on your home screen. For example, if you have Instagram next to email or other apps that need frequent checking, it might encourage more checking than necessary. Instead, try moving Instagram behind other apps or putting it at the end of your dock instead of the beginning so that it takes longer for them to open up in their minds again later on.
9. Use Screen Time (or another timing app)
Screen Time is an easy-to-use app that tracks how much time your teen spends on their smartphone or tablet daily (and lets them set limits!). It also provides helpful insights into how much time they spend on apps like YouTube, Netflix, and Instagram so you can see if any problem areas need fixing.
10. Communicate more in person (or with a phone call)
It’s easy to get caught up in whatever is happening online. Instead of just texting back and forth all day, try talking to your kids in person or over the phone. This will help you stay focused on what’s happening around you rather than getting lost in cyberspace!
Technology has largely influenced today’s youth and the way they spend their time. It provides an escape from reality for many, but social media can also make teens feel inadequate about their lives rather than appreciating what they have. With all this in mind, taking some time away from social media can increase happiness and self-esteem. We offer some suggestions to reduce addictiveness side effects now – so consider them if you are working with or advising teens.