We are currently living in a super technological era. And this is a blessing if you think about it. It sort of drives all of mankind forward into an amazing future. However, in some another way, just like every coin with two sides, it can also be a curse.
In fact, given the headlines we have been seeing over the last couple of years, we can safely assume that technology has also been a curse for a couple of years now.
But prior to looking at the negative effect of technology on our young ones, let us agree that technology has made our lives way easier in lots of ways even if we have become dependent on it. It is transforming the way we live, even influencing the way we are behaving, and further altering the way everyone thinks and perceives life.
With that in mind, you can imagine the implication this new care will have on our children. When I was less than ten years old, the most complex piece of technology I knew was the black and white TV set that retailed with a manual knob one could use to change channels or adjust the television’s brightness.
Nowadays, however, my five-year-old toddler is an expert at putting YouTube videos he likes on the iPad. He can even turn the volume up and make the video full screen. And trust me when I say that this is nothing compared to his proficiency in the smartphone arena.
He can take photos, play games, show us the results, and then take some more photos. He can even find his favorite tracks, play them, and then adjust the song’s progress cursor to the part of the song that he likes the most.
Better yet, he can occasionally make a call to someone that is on the contact list and hang up once he is done. This is pretty astounding bearing in mind that I did not learn all these stuff until after five years of using a smartphone. And bear in mind that I was an adult then.
All of this about my child is an astounding feature, but the thing about smartphones is the fact that they are a modern pacifier. They can always calm our kids down and even keep them quiet when they’re disturbing you, but on the other hand, they can be pretty addictive.
For the kid, it is a miraculous world that they would like to be a part of. And that is why one she gets to know and understand its existence, he only yearns for it every spare time that they come across.
How will you know that your child’s love for their technological applicants has spiraled out of control? Well, some of the most common phone addition symptoms include:
- A craving for the latest models of mobile phones and the newest apps on the market
- Feeling irritable or restless when a network or the mobile phone is unreachable
- Preferring to use the phone instead of spending quality time with friends and family
- Being depressed and a persisting feeling of anxiety throughout the time
- Failed attempts to use a movable device less
- Loss of sense of time when they are surfing online
- A constant need for the child to use a cell phone more often compared to a month or two ago
There is also a wide array of physical effects that are caused by child cell phone addition including, but not limited to itchy eyes, distracted attention, inability of one to focus on one subject for a while, fatigue, abrupt changes in diet and weight change, insomnia, neck tension, back tension, fingers tension, and many more features.
The most reported effects of cell phone addition are problems and failures in studies as well as a major loss of interest in outdoor activities, sports, and even hobbies.
That said, if your kid or someone’s kid that you know is going through a similar phase, then worry note. I will share with you tips that you can employ in order to prevent and even fight phone addition in your kid.
- Cut the cord
I remember when my older (now 20-year-old) son turned 14 and he could not put down his phone. It is like he could not be away from it even for a minute. It was getting frustrating because I could not afford to pay up the $15 to $30 extra each month just because my son was going over her allotted monthly plan.
In an effort to deal with the issue, I warned him to either cool it off with the nonstop phone internet connection or else I would take his phone away. However, I realized that I could do something else that was far more effective and efficient. Why not cut the internet on my son’s phone the moment he reaches his maximum data allotment each month.
After I decided to go through with a plan, my son reduced his online activity. He now knew that he had a limit that he could not pass, and as a result, he chose to stay off of it more. This further translated to more family time for us.
For the first time in years, we could eat dinner without phones next to us or notifications coming in and him picking up the phone what the friends were saying.
At the beginning though, there was this kind of weird feeling that he felt and he could point out that “Well, my friend’s parents do not do that.” Good for me, I always had a response for that, and that is, “well, I am not your friend’s parents, son. I am your parent.”
- Employ the “be present technique”
James stone, my friend and a woodworker who works just outside Boston, Massachusetts has a 13-year-old daughter with a phone and he was busy lamenting with another close friend of ours about how technology has transformed the dynamic at the dinner table. Not just for the kids in the family but for the adults as well.
This was the conversation (coupled with the need to make our friend a birthday present) that resulted in the “be present” box trick a couple of months ago.
Those not accustomed to the trick is simple. The box is a small, wooden and carefully crafted box that has been etched with very clear directions regarding how tone can pack their phone away.
Inside the box, it is written, 1. Insert your phone, 2. Close the lid, and then when you close the lid, it is written, “be present.”
The boxes, which are currently retailing at an affordable price of $60 each, have resulted in a whole new dynamic at the dinner table, as kids all around the world fight in their households to see who gets their divided in there first. This is a trick that I definitely think you should avail.
- Tough love
I read a story on Reddit recently. Amanda Hayne, 16, pointed out how she and her friends realized at a dinner a couple of months ago just how much they are addicted to their cellphones. After everyone was posting images on Facebook throughout the dinner and nobody was even talking to the other, one of the friends came up with an intriguing idea. They decided to pile their phones in the middle of the table during the meal and whoever dared touch or grab theirs had to pay the tab for all the rest of the friends.
At first, they panicked and looked at each other with discomfort in their eyes but went along with it, Hayne noted. Hayne further noted that she got into an accident a year or two ago because she was caught up texting while driving from work.
She further notes that the new policy her friend came up with forcing them to have real conversations about real things without annoying interruptions from the phone.
As a parent, you can turn this around and come up with a good trick just like Hayne’s friends. In fact, in order to motivate your kids, you should also be a part of the game and place your phone in the middle of the table during mealtime or other family times.
- Why give them the phone in the first place
One of the best ways to deal with an issue of your kid getting addicted to their phone is to not give it to them in the first place. This idea has been endorsed by lots of experts on the subject
You are the parent in the family, and when you say no, then it means no. and I know that there are lots of parents nowadays who do not want to deal with that kind of tough love so they just give in and decide to give their kids a phone. You cannot give in as a parent because what happens next will be up to you to deal with.