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4 Ways to Help your Teenage Kids Manage Screen Time

4 Ways to Help your Teenage Kids Manage Screen Time

Until about two decades ago, parents had little to worry about when it came to bringing up their kids. As long as younger kids stayed away from strangers, teenagers didn’t sneak off in the middle of the night to house parties or date the wrong people, everything was fine. However, as the rate of advances in technology began to skyrocket over the past decade, so did the complexity of dealing with kids, especially teenagers.

Teenagers and kids, in general, became increasingly addicted to technology. PCs, Macs, and gaming consoles became must-have pieces of technology at home, with kids spending hours on end on their devices. The entry of smartphones and tablets over the past few years has added on to the woes of many parents and families in the digital age. Increased screen time has been associated with various developmental challenges, including health, societal, and psychological deficiencies. Exposure to the internet from a young age has also increased cases of cyberbullying across the globe.

So, faced with a modern problem, how can parents help their kids to manage screen time in the face of social media and an active internet community? It is important to remember that not all screen time is bad, as long as teenagers mix time on their devices and other healthy behaviors away from these devices.

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As a parent, there are a couple of things you can do to help the situation. Check out this list of the most popular tips for helping your teenage kid manage their screen time.

1. Encourage Balance, not Restrictions

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    When most parents discover that their teenage kids are screen junkies, they tend to have an adverse knee-jerk response that often results in tight restrictions, wild emotions, and a combative mood around the house. While excess screen time may be unhealthy for kids of any age, some screen time may be necessary for teens. So instead of locking away every gadget around the house, it is best to moderate the amount of time that kids spend on their media devices.

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    Encourage them to participate in other activities away from their devices, especially if you suspect screen time is interfering with other facets of their lives. And because teens are more likely to open up than younger kids, start a discussion about their screen habits and encourage them to find balance.

    2. Get Involved

    Young man and his son using a laptop

      Kids and teens often get their screen usage habits from an older adult, usually a parent. Most parents always find it difficult to put the tablet, laptop, or smartphone down, a trait that is copied by kids and teens back at home. Setting a good example will not only help your kids cut down on media use, but will also help establish healthy media habits around the house.

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      You can also get directly involved in the type of media they consume. Watch their favorite movies or TV series with them or pick up a gamepad and indulge in a one-on-one drag race on their game consoles. This way, they will know you understand their issues when you tell them they need to cut down on screen time.

      Establish screen time rules together and give them a chance to come up with their own screen schedules. This will also help them become responsible teenagers and adults in future.

      3. Plan Tech-free Vacations

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      joyful-family-camping-in-the-park_1098-1846

        Believe or not, there are still vacation spots that are too remote for cellular and internet connectivity. Some spots even take away your devices when you check in, which can be a good way for the whole family to tune off. Most kids and teens won’t readily lay down their devices so make sure you set your foot down as a parent on this one.

        You can also pick out vacation spots that make it difficult to use phones and tablets. Activities such as biking, windsurfing, and most water sports make it virtually impossible to use their devices.

        4. Establish Media-free Zones in the House

        tech-free-zone

          The house is often the biggest crime scene when it comes to media overuse. Most teenage rooms are normally stocked with the latest in gadgetry – from the latest PlayStation console to HD TVs. Set clear rules to guide the time and place that media devices can be used. For instance, you can ban media usage in the bedroom, at the dinner table, or when the kids are doing homework.

          Conclusion

          Making the adjustments to media habits around the house will undoubtedly be an uphill task, especially if your teenage kids have carried on their bad media habits from early childhood. Still, it’s always better to be late than never. If poor screen habits aren’t rectified, they can spill over into adulthood where they can have much more drastic effects on a young adult’s life.

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          Vikas Agrawal

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          Published on September 20, 2018

          11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

          11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

          In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

          Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

          In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

          Minimizing Tabs

          Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

          Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

          Incognito Mode

          Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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          1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
          2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
          3. Download extension New Incognito Window

          This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

          Save Webpages as PDF Files

          Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

          Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

          Open Recently-closed Tabs

          Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

          One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

          The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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          Solve Mathematical Problems

          Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

          For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

          Play Media Files

          Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

          In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

          Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

          With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

          Stay Focus(e)d

          Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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          Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

          With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

          This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

          Grammarly for Editing

          Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

          You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

          Loom

          There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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          There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

          With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

          Chrome Calendar Extension

          No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

          Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

          Final Thoughts

          Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

          Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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