Electronics play an undeniable role in today’s world. Whether it is for work, entertainment, or communication, it is hard to imagine a situation in which electronics play no part. Between computers, tablets, phones, televisions, and all variations thereof, the screen has invaded every household and shows no signs of leaving. As such, battling teenage phone addiction becomes extremely difficult – simply banning all internet usage would leave a child without access to a resource that, for better or worse, is here to stay. However, there are several steps parents can take to help limit their child’s screen time and participate more actively in the real world.
Recognizing the Signs
Teenage phone addiction often begins with the family. A recent study showed that parents themselves spend over seven and a half hours daily on screens for non-work purposes. It is extremely important for parents to lead by example – taking away a child’s phone before dinner and then sneaking a text in the kitchen does not send the desired message. Instead, truly electronic-free zones must be respected by the entire family in order to work.
While removing electronics altogether may not be a practical approach – in some cases, this may even cause physical withdrawal symptoms – there are several steps that can help curb the habit and allow families more time together without the interference of screens.
The first step to helping teenage phone addiction is recognizing the signs. Simply using the phone does not necessarily qualify as an addiction; spending every waking moment on one may be. In a similar vein, if a cell phone is beginning to take a toll on the real world, it may be symptomatic of a serious issue. If a child seems to exhibit these signs, it is vital to act fast.
Setting Time Aside
Once a problem is identified, setting no-phone time aside is often a good way to limit the damage. Certain times – such as meals or car trips – can be designated specifically for family interactions. Keeping phones out of the bedroom can not only provide more time for face-to-face interactions, but it can improve sleep. This, in turn, can result in improved health overall.
Picking up hobbies and exploring passions in the real world can also occupy a child to the point where they simply don’t remember to check their phone. Taking up a sport, for instance, is a great alternative to spending hours on the phone.
If your child exhibits signs of teenage phone addiction, it may be time to contact professional help. Asheville Academy, a therapeutic boarding school, helps girls 10-14 deal with addiction to electronics. For more information, call 800.264.8709 today!