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How to encourage teenagers to spend less time online.
Teenagers are a very unique set of people who not adults and yet are not children! This age-grade is so dynamic that everything about them are constantly evolving and very rapidly too. This leaves us with the need to constantly invent ways to deal with them and help them grow to be responsible adults and admirable role models in the future.
The era of technology has made the world a media village, therefore making communication much easier (supposedly) and any form of information can be obtained in the matter of seconds, no matter the specification, complexity or volume of the information. Apart from all the ease brought by this communication era, problems such as digital and internet addictions, diminishing attention spans, and low quality relationships.
Teenagers now prefer to spend more time on than the virtual world (called social networks etc.) than the real environment that surrounds them. They also love to spend an outrageous amount of time online chatting, browsing, downloading, watching YouTube videos and embarking on online window shopping.
These activities have proven to have a more harmful effect on the teenagers that are hooked on them. For instance, those permanently on social networks tend to lose their ability to spell properly (due to the use of short codes), some get hooked on X-rated videos such as pornographic videos; and others just love to search on all sorts of insignificant stuff that yields no fruit. These problems are almost normal today as almost every teenager faces the risk of falling victim to one of this these problems. But there are possible ways of avoiding these issues and they are:
Spend more time reading books: “A reader today, a leader tomorrow!” says an adage, reading a book is a very constructive and equally addictive activity to embark on. But unlike the internet addiction that tends to be destructive, reading books helps with the possession of literary skills and vast knowledge on whatever topic the book is written based on. It also increases one’s imaginative capacity and depth of thought. This causes a paradigm shift in the thinking pattern of the teen causing to shy away empty talk, jobless chatting and all other juvenile destructive tendencies.
Actively participating in outdoor sports: is a very vital and effective method of keeping teenagers busy and away from their smart phones. Therefore forcing them to spend less time on the internet and spend more time on sporting activities that will keep them physically and mentally fit.
Joining action or activity groups: also helps in distracting teenagers from their phone, keep tem actively involved in more positive activities. They are also taught life coping skills by joining these activity groups. Examples of such skills are: the boys scout, the boy’s brigade, et cetera, et cetera.
Going camping: it is an established fact that teenagers love a lot of activity being that they are young and adventurous, so they tend to try out everything or experiment on everything. It is for that reason that it is expedient that you keep them busy with activities that they are very well interested I and also contains a lot of fun. That is why it is advised that they go camping too keep them busy in good manner or they might just find something else to keep themselves busy (believe me, you may not like that very much).
More activities involving the family: it is advised that parents or guardians monitor the internet activities of the teenagers under their care. But we all know that it is not entirely possible to that (i.e. the plan is not full proof). So it is ore advisable that the family organizes more get-togethers, vacations, discussions, and generally just hang out together very often to keep the teens under them away from the harmful influence, or the bad vices of the internet. Or notice any changes that call for a drastic decision.
Participating in activities that are affiliated to their dreams: teenagers love to dream and when they close to their dreams they get very excited and satisfied. This keeps them busy and encourages them to put in all they’ve got into whatever it is that they are doing, they get a sense of direction and a sense of responsibility. This also keeps them focused and far away from embarking on suspicious activities online or spending too much time on the net.
Learning a form of trade or skill (apprenticeship): has very similar effect to participating in activities affiliated to their dreams. It keeps them occupied and in track. There is a crucial issue here though; whatever trade, skill or training you involve them with must rhyme with their interests if you want maximum cooperation and less rebellion.
The bottom line is you have to find a way to make them make good use of their time, because if they are busy and have set goals for themselves, they would not even think about getting stuck to some social network or glued to some video or search engine just to keep them busy.
It is also important that you find a way to give them some sort of self-worth. When they are confident in themselves things will be much easier and nothing will be impossible.
Written by Abraham A.L on 18th March 2016
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