Here are five key tips to protect teens from the stress of social media and screen addiction:

  1. Do more: playing sport, having a coffee with friends, walking the dog- it seems obvious but the more meaningful interaction we have with people in the non-virtual world the more nourished and resilient we feel.
  2. Talk more: It’s easy to retreat behind a screen than face up the everyday difficulties of life. But if we create a space at home where opinions and doubts can be aired, and accommodations can be reached – we are modelling the core skill of empathy and negotiation to young people.
  3. Turn of notifications: this stops the desire to immediately respond which can alleviate the pressure kettle feeling and the need to constantly be connected online.
  4. Be an adult: Be aware of what your child is viewing/accessing online. We wouldn’t allow a young person to drive a car without knowing the dangers of the road – yet we allow our children to go online often with the risk that they could stumble upon disturbing or violent content.
  5. Impose limits if necessary – ban phones from the meal table and bedroom at night, explain you reasons why – eg better night sleep, more meaningful interaction. Imposing limits in this way might involve short term conflict and put you in the position of being the bad cop – but in doing so you are modelling the importance safe boundaries and self-regulation.

Read my full article Technology and Stress at the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BCP) website

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