The smartphone though small in size has proliferated our lives, creating an epidemic of distracted friends and families. Recent studies show that children, ages between 8 and 18, spend on an average nearly 40 hours in front of screens, making parents increasingly anxious that unhealthy screen time that is robbing their children of real world experiences.
With its ease of access, high-speed connectivity, and the rise of free or cheap apps, teens are increasingly relying on their devices for communicating with their friends or family. This generation has never known a world without a cell phone, and their relationship with screens goes well beyond what we experienced with laptops.
Is your child addicted to smartphones? Here are some telltale signs:
- Constantly checks their phones without any reason
- Avoids any kind of social interaction while spending more time with their phones
- Unhealthy sleeping habits and waking up in the middle of the night to check updates
- Feels anxious or restless at the thought of losing their phone
- Feels severe craving when not able to access phone and is delighted when can use again
- Poor academic results and lack of concentration in school activities
- Easily distracted by social apps
So, how can you help your child?
Monitor your teen’s smartphone activity: Make your child understand that as a parent, you are allowed to set screen time limits and monitor his or her online activity. Installing, Easy Logger, a Teen tracker app helps you extensively monitor your child’s activity. With this nifty phone tracker online, you can keep a tab on phone calls, text messages, time spent on various mobile apps, types of websites visited, accurate GPS location, and much more. Knowing what your child is up to, lets you circumvent when you spend that he/she is spending unhealthy time on their screens.
Create “no smartphone zone”: Encourage your teen to limit smartphone usage in designated areas. You may consider allowing phones in common areas, but disallow their use in the dining room, bathrooms, or bedrooms.
Quality family time: Forbid the use of phones during family time, especially at the dinner table, so that the entire family can sit together and enjoy quality time together. This also includes birthdays, family gathering, and family trips. If you want to take pictures and videos of your special time, try taking the good-old camera instead of a smartphone. Encourage them to choose people over devices.
Enjoy tech-free time: Once a week or a month, plan a tech-free day to increase your teen’s connection to the real world by disconnecting with the virtual world. Schedule a sabbatical from the digital world and let your teen discover unexplored activities. Go for a hike, enroll in a hobby class, or simply play a board game. Do anything that allows you to be free from the shackles of online attraction and lets you unplug and recharge.
No driving and texting: Not only does it help to keep cellphone addiction in check, but it is also an important safety measure. Reports suggest that over 20% of all crashes are due to the use of cell phone during driving. As teens are mostly inexperienced drivers, it is critical that you make them understand the perils of driving and texting.
Cognitive behavior therapy: Addictions are never easy to control, especially when the person is surrounded by stimulants on a daily basis. Professional therapy with counselors can help beat addiction with support from friends and family.