Pegah is a 17 year old girl from Maryland. She plays the piano, guitar and ukelele. She is a dancer, and can speak two languages, English and Farsi.
The amount of technology and internet that an average teenager deals with is on a steady increase, with many social networking websites and photo sharing sites making the internet a virtual “playground” for adults and kids alike. However, it can be alarming how much time an average teenager wastes away on these sites, namely Facebook. Similar to MySpace and Twitter, Facebook allows the user to spend hours chatting, uploading photos, or just procrastinating, mainly being unproductive. While going on every other day to check one’s ‘notifications’ and keep up to date with the virtual world isn’t a cause for concern, it is understandable that parents want their teens to spend less time on Facebook, especially if they see a child on for an hour, or more, at a time. Some ways to get your teen to spend less time on Facebook are:
– Asking them to do something for you: a chore such as cleaning your car or mowing the lawn, and motivating them with money. It’s summer, and therefore easy to slip into an unhealthy habit of staying indoors, but with motivation, it is easy to trick them into going outside, perhaps exercising, and being more productive than they were.
– Help them get a summer job or internship: if the place where you work offers teen internships, get your teen involved in that, or take them job hunting (or tell them to come check out the teen writing internships offered here at Radical Parenting!) Any job and internship only adds to their experience, and keeps them focused, limiting the down time they have to spend on the computer, or on Facebook.
– Instead of yelling at them to ‘get off Facebook’ (as many teenagers make a pointed attempt to do the exact opposite of what their parents tell them), when one sees their kid on Facebook, instead ask them about their plans that day, or asking them to do something with you that day instead, like going for a walk. When a parent intervenes and subtly replaces internet time with an outdoor activity, the teen will remember, and associate activity with activity: the next time they go on the computer, they may be reminded of going outside, and cut computer time short to go do something else, outdoors.
All in all, excessive Facebook use results from boredom; lack of doing anything leads us to reach for the nearest way to talk to others, and basically, tell them how bored we are. When noticing your teen is on Facebook with nothing to do, make family plans that involve physical activity, outside, away from technology for a while.
Photo: Dimitris Kalogeropoylos on Flickr