Phone addictions go beyond your child’s preoccupation with virtual reality. Scientists are still exploring the many effects of this type of addiction.
According to recent research, over half of all parents are concerned that their teen’s excessive phone use is affecting their mental health.
If you do not want your child to get addicted, here are some things you can do:
1. Monitor your child’s phone screen time
The new apple update (IOS 12) comes with an automatic screen time monitor which allows you to get real-time reports on how much time you or your kids spend on your devices surfing the web, on social media sites or playing games.
This screen time monitor is a great way to keep track of, or set limits on your child’s activities. Learn more about this feature and how to turn it on here.
2. Have interactive Non-tech experiences with them
There are many great ways to keep your keeps off their phones. Consider going out as a family and leave your phones at home. Go outdoors for a picnic, to the amusement park, to see a movie or even stay home playing board games.
Do this as frequently as possible. Your child may not understand now, but in the future, your child will thank you for helping them learn that one can spend quality time with loved ones offline.
3. Arrange Playdates
For your younger children, consider arranging play dates to encourage face to face interaction with peers. The more developed their real-life relationships are, the less likely they are to get addicted to their phones or suffer anxiety from the absence of phones.
4. Connect With your child Virtually
If your child is into games, pick up a child-friendly video game or app, try it first to confirm that it’s not provocative, then play it with your kids. Afterwards, you can ask them what they thought about the game and what they are learning from it.
Connecting with them like this is a great way to spend quality time with them building their trust in you and allows them to have an idea of “game time” taking note that there are specific times set apart for those activities. You can also find out what social media your kids use, create accounts and friend them on it.
5. Consider a Tech Abstinence or “Fast”
For younger children, progressively remove tech devices from their everyday routines for a day, a week, or even a month. Replace these devices with activities like going to the park, reading, playing board games, a family camping trip, etc.
Little by little, try to keep your child away from the leisure use of tech devices. In a few weeks, you will notice a significant change in their behaviours.
For older Children, set competitions within your family about staying off your devices, who can stay offline the longest? Put out rewards such as, getting control of TV time, choosing the next family activity, Cash gift, gift card to a local store, etc. for the family member who can stay the longest.
The rewards you choose must be incentive enough to keep them offline.
In this age, it is getting increasingly impossible to make your children grow up the same way we did – without technology.
Eliminating their use of tech is putting your children at a disadvantage. Rather than the unrealistic “total eradication” of technology, it is our duty as parents to help our kids balance real life and virtual reality.