Why your teen needs time out more than ever.

I watch my teenagers and they have their phones attached to their hands practically all the time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this adaptation as part of a teenagers evolution! As parents, we try to schedule time away from their phones and we encourage them to leave their phones downstairs over night as we do, but they like to text their friends in the evening and I get that. I remember talking to my friends too although I was sat on the stairs wrapped in my duvet as the phone was in the Hallway! It makes it tricky to police when phones are so accessible and they both want to use their phones as alarm clocks.

There are numerous studies and articles than have looked at the negative impacts of phone use by our teenagers. Quality of sleep and the link to declining mental health
are a real worry. I mean when my teenagers are interacting with their friends they text or are on Snapchat. There may be multiple children in this group chat so how can they really be engaging properly? Without a face-to-face conversation, how do they know what the other person is thinking or the context of the chat? I worry about bullying and whether they are safe online. No wonder studies show a decline in our teenagers mental health! I worry about vulnerable children or children with special needs; would they be able to negotiate this new teen language where no-one actually speaks to one another? If you are not having a purposeful chat in person with your friend, how can you build a proper relationship and build your social skills ready for the adult world?

Why your teenager needs more time out than ever. Oldhouseintheshires. #parenting
Is your teen always on their phone?

Are our teenagers losing the art of conversation?

I think my children are very typical of their age but they are very different to me growing up. I used to go ‘into town’ every weekend to meet my friends or go around to my best friends house for sleep-overs. I would ring my best friend almost every night after school which would make my parents wonder what we could possibly say to each other after 7 hours of school! My teenagers spend lots of time on Snapchat or texting friends. They rarely actually talk to each other. The worrying thing is that when I ask them what one of their friends is doing/have they got a boyfriend/job/going on holiday? They will often not know. This seems crazy to the teenage world that I knew growing up in the 1980’s! I knew EVERYTHING about my best friend, literally everything! Does that mean that our teenagers are losing the art of conversation? Have they never had a truly in-depth conversation about random trash or the meaning of life? Perhaps that will come when they have a deeper relationship with someone? I just don’t understand it. I expect that’s part of growing older; you don’t fully understand todays youth.

Taking time out

I would like my teenagers to spend more time away from their phones so I think they may need time out. Time out away from their phones is more important than ever and it’s my job as their parent to ensure they get it. Time for being with family talking to their older and younger relatives, watching Love Actually, Mama Mia or Transformers (depend on the mood!) together in our PJ’s, spending time together with friends, playing board games and enjoying long walks with Dottie all together. Time away from phones and social media is so important; and not just for teenagers.

Why your teenager needs more time out than ever. Oldhouseintheshires. #parenting


Monday Stumble Linky
3 Little Buttons
After The Playground
Mission Mindfulness
Twin Mummy and Daddy


  • So right Sophie, glad it’s not just mine…I swear they can be on snapchat for an hour, Ill ask “what are they doing?”
    “nothing”. Oh… Right…!!

  • Mine are a little older than yours and I can honestly say, looking back, that the phone crept up on my micro-generation of parents and caught us unawares …. whilst we were diligently making sure that the PC was in site so that we could monitor whether they were getting into potentially deep waters lured by ‘kids’ who weren’t kids in chat rooms, we blithely handed out the phones because it was a means of keeping them safe. How wrong we were …. now the phone is welded not just to the hands of teens but also their parents and even grandparents (my brother-in-law who turned 80 in October despairs of his wife who is perpetually updating her FaceBook …. she is 78!!). I think time out is the way forward. My youngest (22) is coming to stay for a week on Sunday (don’t even ask how excited I am!) and we have already discussed the fact that we will both have time in the day for Social Media and the rest of it true to just be and enjoy. As ever you touch so many chords with me and I wish you the greatest strength in implementing your strategy over Christmas …. all of you 😉 xx

    • Yes! Amen to that….all of us!
      Thank you for commenting lovely. It’s a tricky balance but you are right, we did give out phonesfor safety.

    • Osyth…..remind me of your site please as I can’t find you and I need to go over to your site for a read! Xx

  • I just downloaded a meditation app for my teenager. Surprisingly, he likes it and has been using it, which is good because he has been stressed at school. Honestly, I think all teens need to be able to take at least 5 min to themselves without phones or other distractions. I fully believe it would greatly enhance their mental health and it would re-energize them and make them more productive. I can help my teen at home but school is the issue for him right now. I wish all schools allowed this for all of their students.

    • Oh that sounds amazing! Yes no wonder our children are being taught mindfulness in schools now….in my day, we just ran around outside or sat and chatted under the large cherry tree. X

  • Yes I can relate so much! I despair when I feel as if they would never be off them if I didn’t insist. We have no way of knowing how this will impact the next generation socially or relationally. The only positive I can see so far is kids are not getting up to as much mischief (maybe a decline in teen pregnancy?) because they are becoming more isolated. But isolation isn’t a good thing either. The other hard thing is when they come off their phones, my kids get all crabby with one another and then you long for the peace and quiet there was when they were all involved in their own little online worlds!

    • Oh I so agree with you! I worry about loneliness too and I can see that could be an issue. Thank you for your kind comment. x

  • Such a thought provoking post. I’m guilty of being on my phone too much and it’s something I’m seeking to address. You can lose hours down the rabbit hole that is the Internet and it’s petrifying how much procrastinating I’ve been guilty of because of it. Always hard to admit a fault, but this is one I need to sort before it impacts on my children. #DreamTeam

    • Oh I think we all do that, definitely! Xx

  • There is a setting on the iPhone that will prevent texts from coming through as you drive! The texter gets a message that the person you are texting will not receive this text until they stop driving! I’s awesome and I am certain, lifesaving for any age! xoxo #mondaystumble

    • Yes, I use that! It drives my ‘answer me NOW’ teens bonkers! 🙂

  • Sophie I try so hard to be strict about this but oh my goodness it is a never-ending battle. I do have a bag from Martin https://www.nophonezone.co.uk/ who guest-posted for me a while ago because despite me insisting on no phones near the dinner table they occasionally sneak them in just in case they miss out on some fascinating “beef” or “social arrangement” so now all electronic devices are confiscated at the dining room door until the meal is over – actually truth be told my husband is the worst culprit! Anyway I digress, it is a big part of their world and I get that but not at mealtimes or in the bedroom at night, although I do make an exception on the latter at the weekend. We do need a break too though and apart from instagram I don’t have my social media profiles on my phone or I find myself like them –
    glued to a screen. It’s all about striking the right balance isn’t it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, always interesting. #TweensTeensBeyond

    • It’s such a hard balance I find….for everyone! Thank you, as ever, for your kind comments. Xxx

  • I think that worries about communication skills are valid. My teen suffers some anxiety, but I think her problems interacting with people on a face to face basis are definitely exacerbated by the amount of time she spends on her phone #teenstweensbeyond

    • Thank you Jeremy. My daughter is very shy and I know that her phone has not helped. X

  • So many truths in here Sophie. Social media is a whole new way of communicating and we are only just discovering what that means for society. It is so easy to have a misunderstanding by text – I’ve done it myself. There are no facial expressions or body language to help us understand the context of what is being said!! We ended up having a time out from phones when we were in Greece this summer because the WiFi was so bad. Result!! Thanks so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond xxx

  • Oh this is so true! I remember sitting on the stairs debating the intricacies of teen life. (At one minute past 6 when the calls were cheaper. Always.) My two aren’t at mobile stage yet but I think the points you make here are so valid for all of us. Thanks for linking to #DreamTeam x

  • Yes to all of this! I really think we do have to ‘model’ not being attached to our phones to our kids – whatever age they are. I also really worry about the students I teach and how attached so many at to their phones. I try and do stuff in form with them about the scientific evidence about lots of screen usage and mood etc. I now find myself just happy if we are all chatting together when it used to be that I was much more strict about doing independent study in the mornings! How times change…. #thesatsesh xx

  • #thesatsesh yes! we all need time out, in fact next week #16 we are closing the linky for chrimmy. Also, we need to train our children manners, how to use the toilet and social media is no exception. PLEASE give them time away, you role modeling it sounds perfect also….good luck, its a battle against the ‘streaks’ lol x

    • Yes those bloody photos of my carpets! 😳😉🤔🙄😂

    • Thank you Sarah for your kind comment. I hope she finds it useful. x

  • I’m with you here. I do genuinely worry that actual conversation is going to become extinct!!! #tweensteensbeyond

  • I worry about this a lot. Mine are still small at the moment but I feel the pull to be on my phone all the time – how much harder it must be for children who have grown up with this technology, and don’t understand the importance of limiting screen time. I am hoping that by limiting my own screen time (no phones at the table, no phones during conversations, etc) that I will show them that phones are only PART of our lives, not the whole, but I know that this is a very small influence compared to the constant barrage of must-have-technology they will experience in their lives #blogcrush

    • It’s a really hard thing! I’m often on my own phone so I can’t expect them to not be. We used to have no screen time in the week though as what with sport, homework etc there is little time for anything else. They are older now so they explain that their phone is like a diary…..fair enough. I still worry though!

  • We really do need to show our kids how it’s done, don’t we? I’m TERRIBLE for being on my laptop (working, mostly, but, still..) and having my phone in my hand, and it’s setting such a bad example to my kids. I think I’ll try a social media break over Christmas (or the day itself at the very least!), but I do fear that our kids are losing vital skills. #TheSatSesh

    • I am guilty of this too. I do think our children are missing vital skills and am so glad mine were young before phones and social media. x

  • I totally get your sentiment and mostly agree but it’s their world and it’s different to what ours was, times change and the days of going to town etc, may we’ll be gone sad if it has, but I believe the world moves on and our children’s children may wonder what all the fuss is about when our ask them to do things they did as children. Excellent read Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    • Yes, to a point but we all need to switch off from routine every now and then. Thanks for having me Nige! Always a pleasure. X

  • I’m a few years away from reaching this stage with my daughters but it will happen soon enough. I imagine it will be tough to deal with. Very thought provoking read.

  • Hi, I just stumbled across your blog, as you do on WordPress, and as I read this post, this old one of mine sprang to mind, so I hope you read it, as I agree with you wholeheartedly! can’t wait to follow along and add my two cents worth from here in Australia, cheers G : )
    My teenage son ’17’ has also recently decided he DOESN’T want a smartphone any more, and here’s his short but simple reasoning:

    • Ah brilliant! I will take a look later! Thanks. Xx

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.