These days everyone is addicted to their smartphones and even the teenagers now feel that they are addicted to their phones. A recent Pew survey revealed that more than half of the U.S. teenagers think they use their smartphones too much. Screen time or phone addiction is attracting attention from all quarters of life. Though Google, Facebook and Apple have all introduced some tools to cut down on the smartphone use, there has not been enough evidence of how helpful these steps have been. Doctors and experts have already warned people about the overuse of smartphones and other handheld devices and their effects on children’s cognitive and social development.
Here are seven ways you can treat the malice your child’s smartphone addiction.
- Create a plan
Just as kids learn to drive before getting a driving license, they should not be allowed to operate their first smartphones all by themselves. So how should you go about it? The best way to start with this is to make a comprehensive plan. A plan with set guidelines and rules is all important because once you give your son a phone then it’s harder to apply the rules later. It is better to take your time and discuss all the major aspects regarding the appropriate use. Your plan should include the rules about the time of use and the potential penalties if a rule is compromised.
Beware of imposing the rules on your kids. You don’t have to come down hard on them because aggression begets aggression. If you don’t want to strain your relationship with your children, then it is better to communicate the smartphone usage rules with them. Also, emphasize how these rules could help them in regulating their smartphone overuse.
Discuss with them how you want the rules to be implemented at family times, meal times, or during study hours. When they trust you, they will themselves help you in making and implementing the plan. Coercing them to do something they don’t want to would only aggravate the matter. But if you do it amicably, they will not only learn to obey rules but also become more responsible. But what could be the limits of use?
- Setting limits
Any rules in your plan must be balanced. You must understand that smartphones are equally helpful for your child; for learning and also for socializing. So the rules should help them regulate their smartphone use. Some of the rules could be like:
- No phones during meals
- No smartphones an hour before bedtime
- Limited phone use during the exam week
- Allowing smartphones only after homework.
Remember that it will not be easy to implement these rules. Don’t expect your kid to come to you and say “Here, take my phone, mom.” This will never happen. You have to make sure they implement these rules to control your child’s smartphone addiction. The above rules seem simple but implementing them can go a long way to balancing your kid’s smartphone use.
- Monitor your plan
You are not going to ban the smartphone use; instead, you are just adjusting how your children use their phones. The purpose of monitoring your kids’ smartphone use is to understand how your kids are spending time on their phones. By monitoring their use, you will be able to look for any anomalous activity and then come up with the right amount of help. But it’s hard to get a hang of their smartphone activity without using a monitoring app which allows you to remotely view what someone does on their phone. The app like Xnspy offers extensive reports and logs for browsing history, phone calls, emails, social media, and so on. You will know which app your kid is using the most and which unknown number is he calling the most. By monitoring your plan, you can better assess which areas need more emphasis on your child’s smartphone use.
- Set passwords
If you find that your kid is not following the rules, then there are technological fixes to this problem as well. You don’t need to snatch phones from them. There are a number of applications in the market that can lock the phone remotely. You can also get alerts when your kid uses the phone more than the allowed limit of use. Similarly, the phone can be automatically switched off after you set a time limit on the monitored phone.
- Take a break
When communicating with your child, decide upon a few hours when it will be suitable for them to keep their phones aside. You can set a family time during which no one uses the phone at home. Instead of staying indoors, take your kid out and play with them. Figure out which sports they like and get them registered in their local sports club. Some physical activity will not only shift your kid’s attention from their phone but also help them stay healthy and active.
- Be an example
Last but not least, you are the first and the most influential person in your child’s lie. Anything kids learn is mostly derived from their parents especially when they are young. Therefore, if you have set healthy guidelines for smartphone use, then you must also follow them. You should worry more about your smartphone use if you cannot live without your smartphone. If, for some reason, your profession demands you to use the cell phone frequently, then better explain that to your kids, categorically.
These are few ways to control your child’s smartphone addiction. If you have any ways to control this addiction, do share with us.
Also, Read Why Play is important for kids.