7 Ways To Get Your Kids Off Their Phones
Tech addiction is a very real problem that parents should be aware of...
7 November 2018
It’s no secret that children are spending more time on their phones than ever before.
Young people have grown up in an era where using technology from an early age is practically unavoidable – leading to fears they are more vulnerable to developing addictions to social media apps and their smartphones.
But internet/tech addiction is something a lot of parents worry about.
So how do you make sure your child has a healthy relationship with social media apps?
Here we’ve found 7 tips for fostering balance, setting boundaries and helping your family to cut down on screen time.
1. Have a ‘bedtime’ for phones
Studies have found that using technology at night can worsen the quality of children’s sleep.
Not only can kids get addicted to the endless scrolling feature, but the artificial light from screens can inhibit the production of melatonin – the hormone that makes them feel sleepy.
Asking your children to power down their tablets, phones and other devices at least one hour before bed sets healthy night-time habits and stops the urge to endlessly browse the internet all night.
2. Plan outdoor activities
The best way to kick your child’s phone habit? Limit the potential for bored scrolling by distracting them with something fun.
Whether enrolling them in a local sports club, introducing them to a new skill or simply making the most of the good weather by going on a family walk, get creative with some forward planning.
The exercise and fresh air will do wonders for their mood, and it will remind them that there’s more to life than spending hours glued to a smartphone.
3. Set a good example
If you’re expecting your children to cut down on their mobile phone use, then you need to practise what you preach.
Banning your children from using their apps, and then spending family meal times incessantly scrolling through yours, sets a negative example for youngsters.
Implement phone-free times and make sure that everyone sticks to them.
4. Let kids help set the rules
Make children aware of the negative effects of too much phone time and get them involved in planning the times where they think they should be able to access the internet.
This way, it will feel more like a mutual decision, rather than an unreasonably enforced punishment.
5. Homework first
If you feel like your child’s studies are being affected by their phone use, implement the rule that they can only access their apps once they’ve completed their homework.
Taking away phones during study times will also help them to focus on the task at hand.
6. Find a natural stopping point
Switching off a game in the middle of a level is a sure-fire way to foster animosity – how would you like it if it was done to you?
Be respectful and give you kids a 10-minute warning before they have to stop.
This should give them enough time to finish up what they’re doing.
7. Keep an eye out
Together, you can set daily limits on their device and be notified when they go over.
Ultimately, if you’re worried about how much time your child is spending on their phone, cutting down is always a good idea.
What’s most important when balancing technology use is:
- giving your child the responsibility of using their mobile device sensibly
- keeping an open line of communication
- making sure that your children know about both the positive and negative aspects of social media