Helping youth set boundaries on technology

September 23, 2021

By Katherine Williams

It’s no secret that young people today are fully immersed in digital technology. Gen Z in particular, a generation that is growing up with no memory of the pre-technology days, is the most susceptible to the dangers of constant technology use. The average member of Gen Z spends almost four hours a day on their phone, and some studies report that Gen Z spends over ten hours each day consuming content across technological devices. Though many are aware of Gen Z’s digital-first approach to life, these numbers point to an epidemic of technology addiction that needs urgent attention and solutions. Here are a few ways to help youth set boundaries on technology and establish a healthier relationship with the devices that permeate their reality.

The easiest way to limit screen time is to set usage limits on individual devices. Whether that is through the settings of a mobile device or within individual apps, setting a maximum amount of time that youth can spend on, say, TikTok or Instagram will help encourage them to get offline. There are even apps designed specifically for usage limits, such as Forest and Freedom, built to address the addiction that plagues Gen Z. Many experts say that screen time outside of work and school should be limited to less than two hours per day, so time limits are essential to keeping Gen Z out of the grip of infinite scroll.

Encouraging Gen-Z kids to spend time with friends rather than on their phones is also key to limiting technology addiction and ensuring that youth stay in touch with the physical world. After all, 51% of Gen Z report daily dependence on the internet for access to other people. This is a concerning statistic that points to Gen Z’s shift to virtual reality and the need to intervene when Gen Z’s screen time goes too far. Helping youth set boundaries on technology, especially mobile devices, is crucial for the development of their interpersonal life.

If you’re still wondering about the extent of Gen Z’s digital addiction, look no further than the establishment of digital detox camps for children, with some for Gen-Z members as young as ten years old. Helping youth establish a healthy relationship with technology is key to ensuring that these extremes aren’t necessary for the entire population, and that we can continue to incorporate technology into a healthy, sustainable future.

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