Tough Love: Teens and Setting Boundaries on Technology

Tough Love: Setting Boundaries for Teens

There is really no way around it, technology is everywhere! When used constructively it can be a phenomenal tool in just about every facet of your life. When used in excess the negative consequences can far outweigh the benefits received through the use of technology. There can be psychological effects, social withdrawal, safety concerns, and even physical consequences. Moderation is the key to technology use.

How to know technology is a problem with your teen?

  • Your teen stops engaging in other activities.
  • They become isolated.
  • They are staying up all night staring at a screen.
  • When you try and limit they become agitated.
  • Sneaking technology use.

A teen that is struggling with internet abuse may be depressed or having social issues that you do not know about and this could be their way of dealing with stress. Especially as a homeschool parent, you know your child best so be aware of changes in mood or attitude. Teens can be known for their rollercoaster of emotions so try your best to keep the lines of communication open so that they will come to you with things they are dealing with and you can work on them together. This is definitely not the time for them to shut you out.

How to set boundaries for teens?

The first thing is to set a good example with your own online time and activity. Children, even teens, learn a lot by seeing how their parents choose to spend their own free time. It is really easy to get sucked into the habit of always checking your phone for emails, texts, and social media alerts. Be aware they are always watching you even though it might not appear they are.

Be sure to set reasonable time limits on screen time and a lot can depend on how much of their time is needed online for school work. Of course once most teens start driving they more than likely will have phones with them but there should be certain times where phones are completely off-limits. 

  • While operating a vehicle. If it is absolutely necessary to check or send a text or make a phone call they should know that they must pull over to a safe parking area before doing so.
  • No phones while sitting at the table for a meal. Nothing really is so important that it cannot wait to finish a meal with family or friends. 
  • No computers in the bedrooms. It is best if computer access is done in a central location like a living room. This should limit the time of day that time is spent on the computer and discourage them from looking up things they shouldn’t.
  • Social events- Of course, this can be hard to back up as teens most likely do not have you near them at most social events they participate in but let them know the importance of talking face to face and setting technology aside.
  • A good consequence for misusing their phone or computer is for them to lose that privilege for a while. After all, most of us grew up without cell phones and computers didn’t we? Earning back trust could equal earning back their phone or computer use. 

 Internet Safety Awareness for Teens

Whatever their age as parents we strive to keep our children safe. Be aware of the sites they frequent. Here is a helpful internet safety rules printable to show your teens and to put up on your fridge. A gentle reminder might be just what is needed to help keep your teen safe. Simply click on the image below to print out the pdf to use as a discussion tool with your teens.


Internet Safety Rules


Joy Capps is a homeschool bookworm residing in the mountains of western North Carolina. The only one who loves books more is her 16-year-old daughter. They both enjoy perusing old bookstores for treasures and sniffing books. Her son who is 18 has special needs, is the social butterfly of the family and has never met a stranger. Although she is originally from South Dakota she now calls North Carolina her home and she and her family love exploring the great outdoors. Her family has been homeschooling since 2005.

November 2, 2019


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