Join the Phone Free Friday Summer Challenge and Help Your Teenagers Take Back Their Time and Their Childhood

Jun 17, 2024 | Mental Health, Parenting, Social Media

Free Phone Friday Blog Graphic


The first iPhone was created in 2007, and there is now over 15 years’ worth of data for doctors and psychologists to study the negative effects smartphone usage is having on kids. The evidence clearly shows that excessive screen time is unquestionably causing health issues for teenagers. There are numerous studies that have linked excessive screen time to a wide array of physical and mental health issues in children including depression, anxiety, obesity, and behavioral issues.

The Challenge

So how can parents help their kids change their cell phone usage habits? It starts incrementally. And one of the easiest steps can be to have them join the very first Phone Free Friday Summer Challenge developed by Jonathan Haidt, renown author of The Anxious Generation. The organization is encouraging anyone above the age of 13 to commit to going phone-free every Friday this summer. The goal is to get teenagers to dramatically reduce their phone use on Fridays and instead spend as many hours as possible immersed in real-life experiences instead. This is not only a noble goal, but a completely attainable one as well.

Make it an Adventure

What will teens do with their newfound free time? Ideally, they’ll make an adventure out of it and involve as many friends as possible. Whether it’s hiking, camping, going to the beach or just plain spending time outdoors together, the hope is that these new real-life experiences will inspire teens to make a lasting change on the amount of time they spend on phones and social media.

To give this challenge even more perspective, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General just announced this week that he will be pushing Congress to force social media companies to include warning labels advising parents that using their platforms may damage the mental health of adolescents. According to Dr. Murthy, “These harms are not a failure of willpower and parenting; they are the consequence of unleashing powerful technology without adequate safety measures, transparency or accountability.”

The Time to Act is Now

It’s important to remember that U.S. doctors, pediatricians and health organizations worldwide recommend no more than two hours per day of screentime for teens, except for homework. Unfortunately, teens are actually on their phones on average between seven to nine hours a day.  That’s over four times the recommended allowance and it’s not slowing down, which is why events like the Phone Free Friday challenge are so critical for families today. The time to act is now. Start by helping your teens develop a healthier relationship to technology and allow them to reclaim their lost time to social media and smartphones…even if it’s just one day a week during the summer.

Your teens can sign up for the challenge using this form.


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