A great deal has changed in the last 30 years in regards to technology. When most parents of teenagers today were young, the popular computer game was Pong, a slow-moving table tennis game. This generation of teenagers has so much more available to them. There are Iphones, Ipads, Itouches, Ipods, personal computers, DS games, Xboxes and PlayStations to name a few. Toddlers today can be seen playing games on their mother’s Iphone to pass the time shopping in the supermarket. It is without a doubt that kids and teenagers need guidance and boundaries set to guide them on when it is appropriate to spend time on these luxuries. Children need rules if they are to become independent, organized and disciplined adults. Without setting specific guidelines on technological playtime, children and teens will be negatively affected by lack of sleep and exercise as they sit and are unaware of the surrounding environment.

A key lesson that you should seek to instill into your teenager' life is that of time management. High school age children need to learn how to balance homework, sports, extra-curricular activities and maintaining friendships, as well as keeping up with the latest technology. It is important to teach a teenager the importance of allocating a sensible amount of time to each of these activities. One way of doing this is by introducing and maintaining a daily calendar. All goals for the day should be written down with the amount of time it is expected to take to accomplish them. Online and “screen” activity that isn’t related to school work, should be left for the end of the day, as a reward for accomplishing the necessary activities.

Setting goals early on is very important. Everything your teenager does should be aimed at achieving a certain goal so they don’t feel like the hard work they are putting into a particular activity is a waste of time. The goal should be something that is achievable so that they aren’t left discouraged or stressed. Rushing through activities should also be addressed. Some children and teens will race through academic projects in order to get to their "screen time". Discuss up front that this will not be tolerated. If assignments are incomplete or hastily finished, "screen time" will not be available until all work is finished properly. This may seem strict in the our current parenting environment, however, this tactic will be beneficial in the long run.

Focus and discipline should be taught by modeling and through positive communication. The more conversation you have with your children, the more comfortable they will feel to open up to you about problems, life, friends, everything. Often times, children and teens will “escape” from their daily problems by burying themselves with online activity. With a warm, balanced relationship, your kids will feel less need to spend endless hours entranced with their electronics and will be interested in spending more time hanging out with the family and talking about the social issues that arise daily.

Teaching your children how to make daily schedules, keeping an open and positive forum for communication and teaching goal making skills, will help your children and teens to maintain healthy schedules.

Author's Bio: 

Ari Novick, Ph.D. is Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a certified anger management and Parenting provider. Click here for more information on Parenting Classes Online

Dr. Ari Novick also provides world class co-parenting classes online