Does your teen spend long hours using a smartphone? Is your teen spending a lot of time on social media or playing games? If that is the case, this article will show you how you can help your teen cut back on smartphone usage.
Mobile phones, tablets, and laptops play a prominent and helpful role in your teen’s life. For example:
- Schools: they can do research and access essential tools which can help them complete and stay on top of their classwork and homework.
- Social life: They will be able to connect with friends and relatives
- Entertainment: They can play games and watch movies
- Communication: They can stay in touch with parents and siblings
Negative Effects of Smartphone Usage on Teens
Excessive use of mobile phones could pose serious health risks to their mental and physical well-being.
Studies have shown that using smartphones too much may cause headaches, decreased attention, sleep disorders, and depression, mostly among teenagers.
Many teenagers seem overly attached to some uses of digital technology. Their mobile phones and they have become best buddies. Difficult to disconnect themselves from the Internet.
Many teens even go crazy if their devices aren’t close by at all times. They are so ridiculously attached to it!
According to a survey conducted by HMC in partnership with the online safety organization Digital Awareness UK (DAUK), out of 2750 students between the age of 11-18, almost half of them check and look through their devices for messages and updates through the night.
The teens may also experience withdrawal symptoms when separated from their digital companions.
Now, imagine the impact this could be having on them. Some researchers describe this type of behavior as an addiction.
Also, smartphone addiction has a negative impact on the user’s psychological and physical health and academic performance.
In some cases, teenagers’ usage of mobile phones has created a barrier between family members. Their parents don’t know about anything going on in their teens’ lives anymore.
Some parents have even complained that their teens chat with online friends while talking to them. They can’t just get to put their smartphones down.
If your teen’s use of the Internet is causing them to neglect their responsibilities like homework, chores, or taking care of themselves, then it is time to make changes.
To help your teens avoid spending too much time on their phones, you need to assess their use of the Internet.
- Do your teens become unduly agitated, perhaps even temperamental, when they cannot access the Internet?
- Do they keep using their devices while they are supposed to be asleep?
- Is their use of smartphones causing them to neglect their homework or spend time with other family members?
- Have your teenagers neglected their hygiene because of their use of mobile phones?
How can you help your teens be smart about using the Internet and making needed changes? Learn how.
Set reasonable limits to your teen smartphone usage
Too much of even a wonderful thing can harm us. So whether your teens use the Internet for important school activities or pleasure, reduce the amount of time they will do so, and then help them stick to that limit.
Limits are good for kids. It teaches them appropriate behavior and sharpens some of their skills. If the amount of time your teen spends browsing or chatting online is a concern, set reasonable limits—even using a timer if necessary.
The eventual goal is to help them cut back on their phone usage and fulfill their responsibilities, like homework, chores, and self-care.
Sometimes when kids don’t stick to the limit you set for them, it’s because they don’t know how to do it. Help them set a routine on how they spend each day and see that they follow it through.
It takes time to get used to not using their smartphones. Don’t expect to see a change overnight. Instead, keep an eye out for any effort they make to adjust.
Keep giving gentle out-loud reminders and pointing out the importance of not using their devices long after the predetermined time. And remember to praise their effort, not just the result.
Teach your teen priorities and time-management skills
To help your teens become responsible adults, teach them to put family communication, homework, and chores as their top priorities before casual internet use.
If your teen spends an increasing amount of time on their smartphones, set limits by teaching them how to keep track of time—using a timer if necessary.
Help your teen establish a checklist. The list should include what they need to do and the time to do it. In so doing, they will be accountable for their own schedule.
If they didn’t follow through with their responsibilities, hold them accountable for it. Remind your teen and direct them to the checklist.
Remember, it is important to be patient with your teenagers and frequently assure them of your love so they don’t see the new adjustments as too harsh or a burden.
Establish and maintain a good routine for your teen
Teens will often complain about following a routine at first. Do not be discouraged; sometimes, they may even try to disrupt the routine to get out of it deliberately.
But do not give in. Keep reminding your teen and telling them the benefits of engaging in other meaningful activities and not constantly being glued to their devices.
With time, it’s going to pay off. Subsequently, if your teen’s routine gets disrupted, they will have a longing to return to it as quickly as possible.
Engage your teens with other exciting activities
If your kids are glued to their mobile devices, an excellent way to wean them off is to engage them in fun activities that take them completely away from their phones – like playing a game at home or going on a treasure hunt.
Provide opportunities for creative play. Encourage your teen to start a new hobby or even spend time outdoors. It will help them get acquainted with new things.
Not just rules, teach your teen to live by values
You cannot monitor your teen every moment of the day to see if they are making the necessary changes or not. Besides, your goal is not to control your teen but to help them be smart about using social media or playing games all the time.
So, instead of stressing rules as the primary factor, appeal to your teen’s moral sense. Help them make wise decisions, whether in your absence or presence.
Navigating the Internet is like driving a car. It requires good judgment and not just technological ability. They need your guidance to use the Internet smartly.
Explain the reasons behind why they should limit smartphone usage. If your teen understands your thinking on the matter, he is more likely to make necessary changes.
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