About the author, Chris McKenna

Chris is the Covenant Eyes Educational Resource Manager. Chris has a BA in Accountancy and Spanish from Western Michigan University. After 12 years in business advising with Ernst & Young, God led Chris to a full-time student ministry role. He started protectyoungeyes.com in 2015  as a ministry to equip and educate parents and teens on the latest gadgets, apps, and how to use the Internet well, which led him to Covenant Eyes. God works in unexpected ways!

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4 thoughts on “Summertime Tips: Managing Screen Time for Kids

  1. I have struggled with how much time my teenage daughter spends on her phone. She will spend the majority of a summer day texting her friends and being on Facebook. I talk with her about setting goals and having more focus beyond the phone. She only has two more years left in high school so I would really like to see her develop time management skills on her own without having to always set limits externally. Any advise on how to navigate as a parent the control of screen time with teens who need to start transitioning to adulthood?

    • If your child is not using their phone in a healthy way, it’s time for you as a parent to intervene. It’s nice to think that kids will figure these things out on their own, but the reality is that we are parents are here to help them learn, and in fact children do not have the full brain development to make good long-term choices for themselves. That’s why they need us while they’re growing up! We set limits while they were children to help them establish a sense of healthy norms. What they do as adults is up to them, but at least they have a set-point about what’s normal, and normal is not non-stop indulgence.

      Kids do not have the brain development to make adult decisions about what is healthy in the long-term. Don’t expect that of them. Help them learn what’s healthy by providing limits while they are children. When their brains are fully developed (age 25!!!) then expect more mature behaviors.

      Meanwhile, step up with healthy limits.

    • Kay, I get what you are saying. Let me clear one thing up – we are not afraid to set boundaries or limits with our children. My teenage daughter has monitoring software on her phone, and she does not have most of the apps on her phone that most kids have. For one thing – I want to choose my battles very carefully with a teenager daughter. My struggle is also in having the wisdom to know whether to enforce limits and boundaries on her or to step back and let natural consequences follow to her poor choices. I believe letting a child fail in some cases and face those consequences is a far better teacher than me setting boundaries and limits to prevent poor decisions. For example, if she doesn’t get her chores done because she mismanaged her time on her phone, sorry can’t go hang out with the friends. Or if she failed to make the grades in a class when she seemed to find plenty of time on the phone, then natural consequences will follow. Or if she goes to play sports next year and ends up sitting on the bench because she didn’t practice and put forth effort, then that is a natural consequence of her decisions. I believe if I always control things for my kids and never step back and let them face consequences for poor choices, then I have done a great disservice – especially as she is transitioning to adulthood and within a few years could be living on her own. I hear over and over the importance of letting our kids fail and face the consequences (now there are some areas that I will step in and not let my child fail in like drugs or pornography). This is where I am at right now. Do you disagree with this?

    • Sounds like you’re doing fine. Just don’t expect your child to be able to manage everything on their own. Keep those conversations open, and don’t be afraid to adjust those boundaries when your child is not managing their internet usage well. That’s simply an indication that they’re not ready for that responsibility yet. Their brain development does not allow for them to have long-term adult views, so don’t expect adult behaviors yet. And even when she’s an adult, she will need support and help along the way too, as all of us do.

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