If you feel like your teenager spends all day on social media, you’re not alone…

If you feel like your teenager spends all day on social media, you’re not alone – and definitely not wrong. A 2018 poll reported that 45 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds surveyed self-reported they spent “almost all day” on online, with 97 percent reporting social media use “every day.” With the isolation brought on by the pandemic, these stats are probably even higher now. So how can we help our teenagers navigate
social media and its constant presence?

St. Petersburg child therapist Juli Hindsley suggests setting boundaries as soon as possible, even before your teenager is using social media if possible. She advises setting guidelines, consequences, and expectations that come with social media use, as well as being clear about privacy settings and parental supervision.

“The hardest thing for a teenager is to feel surprised by a parent’s check-in,” Hindsley adds. “It’s no different for social media. If a teen isn’t forewarned that their social media activity may be checked on by a parent, they can get defensive and angry.”

So your teen is already on social media but guidelines haven’t been set yet? The St. Petersburg child therapists says not to worry, but to work with your teen to find something that is comfortable for all. She recommends telling your teen that you want to do better by them and establish boundaries that work for everyone. She suggests having a discussion about your expectations and your teen’s desires to find common ground that works for all.

The Child and Family Therapy Center offers social media and screen time-focused coaching sessions for parents, with specifics designed for individual children and family, so that social media usage can be as nonproblematic as possible.

If you have questions on how the process works, or are interested in learning more about St. Petersburg children’s counseling services, visit Child & Family Therapy Center’s contact page.

Teens and social media - when your teen spends all day online