Facebook is extremely addictive. Many studies show, teens spend an average of 16 hours on the Internet per week, with a considerable amount of that time coming from the usage of Facebook. Research shows that excessive amounts of time spent on any Internet site by teens can lead to obesity, impaired relationships between teens and their parents and even psychological problems (http://www.stltoday.com). Although it may seem a difficult task to pry teens away from Facebook for few hours a week, it is definitely a possible task.
Things parents can do:
- Consider internet/Facebook as a privilege that is earned after daily activities and homework is completed (this is especially a good idea if Facebook is interfering with your teen’s ability to accomplish daily tasks).
- Be a good role model. If your teen is seeing you browsing the Internet or Facebook all of the time, you may be setting the wrong example for them if you are trying to get them to use Facebook less—they may think “if they use Facebook/the Internet a lot too, then there must be nothing wrong with being on Facebook for x hours a week”.
- Interact! By spending some time consistently face-to-face with your teen without Facebook you can help remind them that communication through the use of technology and Internet sites should not replace communication in real life. Also, it is helpful to include family activities that do not involve Facebook.
Overall, although it seems like a daunting task, it is completely possible to limit the time your teen spends on Facebook with some reasonable, realistic methods.
Photo Credit: Goiaba from Flickr