There is no shortage of information on how to take extreme breaks from social media. Scan titles like “5 Lessons From My Week-Long Social Media Break” and “Why I’m Going 30 Days Without Checking In” and you’ll find similarly drastic accounts of ditching Snapchat and the like. But is going cold turkey actually going to teach anyone how to handle social media in moderation?
Maybe not. Researchers have found that many teens (and adults) tend to spend more time on social media after the fast than they did prior to putting themselves on a social media diet.
Instead of swinging from social media excess to total starvation, however, wouldn’t it be more effective if teens (and their parents!) could learn to approach social media in moderation? Sure, share a selfie, send a Snap, post an update, but do so without becoming what experts refer to as “heavy social media users” (people who spend upwards of two hours a day on social media).
3 ways to help teens regulate their social media intake
- Social media every other day: Writer James Hamblin decided to check out every other day in order to make his time on Facebook and Twitter more intentional and with fewer hours lost to mindless scrolling.
- Social media only when the sun is up: Challenge your teen to only engage with social media during the day. Sound crazy when they have school, sports and other commitments? Maybe, but consider the facts: Checking in at night has been proven to disrupt both the quantity and quality of sleep.
- Social media on a schedule: When teens create their own social media schedule, it’s more likely to stick. Let teens decide how many minutes/hours a day (or week) they want to be able to access their apps, create an App Sleeper schedule to reflect that, and check in after a week to see if it should be adjusted.
Here are more tips to help teens keep themselves safe and connected online.