Fighting for eye contact: how to stop your teen’s phone addiction. The struggle IS real, but there IS hope. You will see your teen’s eyes again – read on.
How To Stop Your Teen’s Phone Addiction
Teens nowadays are attached to their phones. Well, not only teens, adults are just as bad too. However, most teens are so consumed with their smartphones that they’ve turned into walking zombies. Rarely do you come across teens who aren’t glued to their devices or whose lives aren’t controlled by their smartphones.
I got my teens their first phones when they turned 14 and they wouldn’t put them down. At first, I thought their behavior was due to the excitement and figured they would tire of their devices and move on to something else. That didn’t happen. Pretty soon, I was competing with phones for my teens’ attention.
Teen Internet Addiction
This scenario is replicated across the country with many parents worried about the hold phones have over their kids. What many parents fail to realize is that teen internet addiction is a real thing and it’s on the rise.
As smartphone use becomes more ubiquitous, more and more teens are getting addicted to their phones and hooked on the internet. A recent study found that 95% of teens now have access to a smartphone with 45% of them being online almost constantly.
What are they doing online? While most spend their time on social media, others, unfortunately, find their way to gambling or porn sites.
It might seem harmless, but internet and phone addiction can have serious effects including reduction of real-life social interaction, feelings of isolation, anxiety or depression and poor academic performance. Physical effects include itchy eyes, poor posture, back, neck and finger tension, inability to focus on one thing as well as poor sleep patterns.
Curbing the Phone Fix
If, like me, you’re fed up with your teen’s constant phone use, take steps to break their habit.
Here are some things you can try to get them to put down their phones:
Set a good example
You can’t expect your teen to give up their phone habit when you’re always glued to yours. Set a good example by using your cell phone less and start paying more attention to your family. Your teen will then have someone to emulate.
Talk to your kids about proper phone use
Educate your kids about, not only the benefits, but also the pitfalls of device usage. Try not to lecture but instead ask them for their opinion on the pros and cons of screen time. This can lead to a lively discussion about internet safety as well as responsible smartphone usage.
Create “no smartphone” zones at home
Another great tip is to come up with cell phone rules like no phones in the bathroom, bedroom or kitchen while cooking. Make sure everyone adheres to these rules, not just teens. This way, your whole family will develop good phone habits and avoid phone addiction.
Ban smartphones at the table
Make mealtimes in your home smartphone-free by banning devices at the table. Instead, encourage everyone to talk, enjoy family camaraderie and connect with each other.
Set strict internet data limits
If your teen completely refuses to put down their phone, try setting a limit on their data. Once the data allotment runs out, the internet gets disconnected. This way, your teen will be forced to use it more thoughtfully and only for the important stuff like research for schoolwork.
Let your teen know you’ll monitor their phone use
Be upfront about holding your teen accountable for their online habits. For instance, you can install parental apps to control when your kids’ phones can be used and which sites they can access. Your teen might resent it at first, but you’ll be protecting them from things like porn and online predators.
While you can’t completely forbid your teen from using their devices or the internet, you can certainly teach them how to use them responsibly. Encourage them to find a balance that doesn’t involve disconnecting themselves from the real world or endangering their health with phone addiction.
Tyler enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative designs. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on:Twitter | LinkedIn
I am always thankful to have Tyler Jacobson write for my blog because he covers a topic that I am not yet familiar with: teenagers.
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