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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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          Last Updated on October 16, 2019

          11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

          11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

          Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

          Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

          Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

          In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

          1. ScheduleOnce

            ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

            ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

            ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

            Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

            Available on Web

            2. Calendly

              Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

              You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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              Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

              3. Assistant.to

                For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

                From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

                While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

                Available on Web

                4. Acuityscheduling

                  Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                  It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                  Available on Web | iOS | Android

                  5. Pick

                    Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                    At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                    Available on Web

                    6. X.ai

                      For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                      This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                      Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                      Available on Web

                      7. YouCanBook.me

                        is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                        They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                        Available on Web

                        8. Doodle

                          Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                          It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                          You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                          While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                          Available on Web | iOS | Android

                          9. WhenAvailable

                            WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                            Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                            Available on Web

                            10. Rally

                              Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                              Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                              Available on Web

                              11. NeedtoMeet

                                Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                                NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                                While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                                Available on Web

                                Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                                In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                                To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                                Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                                A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                                Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                                If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                                Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                                With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                                The Bottom Line

                                Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                                Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                                Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                                Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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