I am a parent of a teenager, and I am struggling with him wanting to be on his phone 24/7.  So, what do I do as a parent?  I would like all parents to share the tips and tricks to control the devices and, more importantly, reduce the time our teens are on their devices. 

When we are at a restaurant, I am surprised to see families all on their phones, not talking or discussing or having a conversation but literally on their phones or devices the entire time during dinner!  What is the point of going to dinner if you don’t have a conversation? 

To that point, I wanted to give the tips that have helped us; however, we are still working on it and improving our ways, too, so please share your ideas too!! 

Top Tips for managing teens and devices:

  • At dinner, make everyone put their phones/devices up.  Encourage a conversation, it might take a moment, but the kids will get there and join in.  They might even like talking and sharing their day with their family.  But I encourage you to try it. It works.
  • Of course, using parental controls on the phone is wonderful these days.  Having screen time OUT is perfect for limiting your kids’ time on social media.  I used this to block websites and control his time on social media. 
  • When we are talking and our son gets on his phone, we stop what we are saying, so he knows we are waiting (and not too happy that he is not listening) for him to get off his phone and continue with the conversation.
  • Talk to your kids about looking people in the eye when talking with them.  Nowadays, kids talk through texting, and I feel that is hurting our young teens; they need to manage conflict by discussing, looking each other in the eye, and knowing how to converse with others.   Just not doing it through texting.  Or social media, for that matter!
  • The phone or device has amazing power for punishment.  When our son is in trouble, we take his phone first; amazing how he starts to react to not having his phone!  He is active in the conversations; he sits with us more in the living room and doesn’t stay in his room as much.  Plus, for us parents, it’s time to go through the phone and catch up on anything that might not be the best thing for him (yes, we snoop, but we do it to protect our son)!
  • Don’t be afraid to cruise through their social media. Seek to understand what is happening to them, not invade their privacy.  Believe me; you want to know what’s going on even if they get mad at you – that’s tough love.

I wish I had more tips, but I am learning as I go or from other mothers/fathers.  But keep teaching them iPhone etiquette is important currently.  Understanding how to have conversations face to face.  Because we lost that over the last few years so, let us get it back teach our teenagers and how to use their devices respectfully.  If you have other ideas, send them our way.