Internet usage is a common point of concern for many parents, and for teens who are involved in online classes during high school, this concern can take on a different tone. These students obviously need screen time to complete classwork, and it can be tough to figure out how often they’re doing this and how often they’re just browsing the web – and what’s appropriate for each.
It’s important to help parents and students adjust to the differing demands of online courses. Let’s look at some areas you can use to set healthy limits on technology use without limiting your child’s ability to complete their classes online.
It’s important for families to set aside technology-free times every day, and doing this together as a family can go a long way. Encourage phone-free family time, perhaps at the dinner table and in the hour following dinner. In addition, remove devices from sleeping spaces and prohibit the use of screens after a certain time of day – this will benefit sleep habits for everyone in the home, especially your developing teen.
You’re the one who has to make final calls like limiting screen time, and you have to stick to your decision once you’ve made it. Maybe you allow only a certain number of minutes for screen time per day, or maybe you make your teens “earn” their recreational screen time through chores, homework, and other activities. Make sure the expectation is clear, and that it’s followed by everyone.
Teens and children often use screens to eliminate their boredom, but there are many other ways to do this as well. Consider things like exercise, crafts and family activities.
At high school age, students should be encouraged to seek out part-time employment. This can cut down on boredom and can help kids further learn responsibility. Employers also tend to limit screen time during work hours, another benefit.
Down similar lines, there are numerous activities your child can get involved with outside normal school hours, even if they’re not going to a traditional high school. There are many resources available for finding these kinds of productive outlets.
American High School has many resources for families with children enrolled in online courses. If you go to their website, www.americanhighschool.org, it will answer many of your questions.