Finding balance between online and offline activities | Internet Matters

Helping teens find the right balance between online and offline activities

Experts in tech and digital parenting discuss the importance of teens balancing their time between online and offline activities, and give tips for parents to help them do this.

Teens smiling at device

Andy Robertson

Freelance Family Technology Expert
Expert Website

How do you help tech-savvy teens find the right balance between online and offline activities?

The key to supporting teenagers in this evolving social world is to value both online and offline activities. Both these interactions are as real and valuable as each other. In both online and offline areas, it can help to find ways to interact in various ways. Of course, offline interactions are more familiar and feel safer, but parents and guardians have a key role in guiding online interactions as well.

Video game interactions can offer a less confrontational space than social media because the shared play and video game world create a sense of mission and camaraderie. Games like Sea of Thieves encourage teens to take on ambitious missions with friends and communicate clearly to complete them. Other games, like Farm Together offer ways to mark out what is shared space and what is restricted. This can help set boundaries.

Finally, there are many games that can inspire interest or aspiration in a real-world social activity. This list of Video Games About Gardening is a great place to start, but you can find games about any theme you are interested in developing.

Dr. Elizabeth Milovidov, Esq

Law Professor and Digital Parenting Expert
Expert Website

How do you help tech-savvy teens find the right balance between online and offline activities?

Socialising online and offline offers teens the opportunity to stay connected and to enjoy so many rites of passage that teens around the world experience.  But like everything, too much of a good thing can have unexpected effects, and teens should find balance in both online activities and offline activities.

Parents can support their teens by offering ideas on balance, wellbeing, and being a role model for a balanced digital life.

Some ideas for parents to try:

  • Set aside time for being online and offline
  • Have your teen work out for themselves what is too much, or too little
  • Offer fun activities to do when online and offline – keep it fair, so that your teens will be just as excited for the offline activities as for the online (and vice-versa.)
  • Consider turning off notifications for social media apps
  • Make a game out of monitoring phone use
  • Ask your teen for ideas

And as always, keep those conversations going.

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