Today’s modern teens are using their smartphones more than ever, and it’s easy to see why. The vast majority of their social life revolves around their phone and everything is happening in real time.
Being without their phone for even an hour can set them back on their message-checking to the point where they can’t catch up with all the new messages.
Excessive smartphone use has definitely become a problem as it pulls attention away from homework, family, and hobbies and can exacerbate ADHD symptoms. If you’ve noticed that your teen spends an unbalanced amount of time on their phone and is neglecting their other obligations and responsibilities it’s time to make adjustments so that they can have a more well-rounded life.
Complications arise when you want them to have access to their phone because that’s how they communicate with you, as well as their friends, but there is such thing as too much of a good thing. Setting some boundaries is a necessity and will help them appreciate the time they spend with their phone rather than diluting the experience with too much time.
Set Smartphone Use Times
Giving your teen unfettered access to their phone is a recipe for disaster. Messages come in at all hours and because there’s such a sense of urgency to respond it can often lead to late nights and broken sleep. At a minimum you should make it so their phone is turned off or on airplane mode during the times you expect them to be sleeping.
Get a WiFi Manager
If you’re having trouble policing how much time they spend on their phone you can reduce the amount of things they’re able to get done by turning off the Wi-Fi at certain times, whether during dinner time, bedtime, or homework time. This will only stop them from using some of the features of their phone, but they’ll still be able to text message and use the data provided from your phone plan, which could be unlimited.
Get a Parenting App
You may have to go all out and get a parenting app that will allow you to restrict access to their phone during certain times. This can be tricky because if your teen is more savvy with technology than you are they will be able to locate the app and disable it, or even remove it completely.
Talk With Your Teen
Getting your child on board with you instead of resisting your attempts to limit their phone use can be the most effective way to go about it. Explain to them the importance of reading books, interacting with family members, and being present in the moment without being on their phone. They may call you “out of touch” or “old school”, but that’s just part of being a parent and you have to do what’s best for them.
It may be a rough road at first, especially if your teen has become accustomed to using their phone as much as they want. But once you see the positive results of limiting their cell phone use and treating it as a reward rather than a right, you’ll be able to stand firm on the issue and form some new habits.