How to cure kids’ cell phone addiction?
They arrived slowly, conquered us with access to entire universes through a screen, and now it is difficult to live without them. Smartphones are in the hands of everyone, and although they have dozens of incredible features, addiction to cell phones is a reality that disturbs a lot of people.
Today, it is difficult for those who grew up living in a world without smartphones, imagine what it is for children to give up who have become accustomed to screens since they were young. Many parents find it difficult to control the time their children spend using electronic devices.
British writer Tanya Goodin has long been concerned about the phenomenon. She calls herself “Expert in Digital Detox” and has just released a book called Stop Staring at Screens (literally “Stop Staring at Screens”). And she gives practical tips to help fathers and mothers who are not sure how to deal with the issue.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Tanya summarized ten of the steps she recommends in her new book. Check out:
Be a model of healthy habits
“It all starts with you. Your success in getting children off the screen is directly related to the time you spend looking at them. Take a critical look at your own habits and control them first.”
Focus on moments and places
“It is easier to find exceptions to complicated rules. Associate ‘screen time’ with specific times of the day, as well as specific rooms in the home, and then it will be easier to apply them.
‘No screens before breakfast’ and ‘No screens in the room at night’ are two good ways to start”.
“Make it clear from the start what the consequences will be for anyone who breaks the rules and prepare to deliver on what you promise. If the consequences are disproportionate or applied inconsistently, you can say goodbye to compliance with the rules”.
Explain the addictive tricks of technology
“Take some time to explain to the children how the programs they use are programmed to hold them back and get them back for more. Unpredictable notifications and awards are examples of this.
Read about Addictive Technology and discuss it with your family. Older children will certainly be interested, and this will make them more aware of the pitfalls they may fall into.”
“A box, basket, or a central place to leave all the devices are great ways to detach from smartphones at home and focus on other things. Some families even ask visitors to leave their own devices when entering their homes – why not try that too?”
Make breaks more fun
“Transform pauses in the use of devices into breaks for nature: take children outdoors at regular intervals after they have spent time fiddling with the devices – 15 minutes for each hour in front of the screens is my rule.
Take tips with your own technology and create games for the youngest children, such as designing circuits in gardens or courses with obstacles to entertain them during breaks, maintaining tables with scores and completed challenges”.
Only one screen
“Watching TV while scrolling through a social network or reading messages is a common activity on family couches around. Control the habit of multi-screens with a rule so that only one is used at a time.
This can even reestablish the fun of watching TV with the family since everyone will be focused on the same thing”.
Offer attractive alternatives
“Sometimes the best approach is to let children feel the boredom that can come if they run out of devices so that they can find their own solutions to entertain themselves,
But offering attractive alternatives can help them have a creative impulse. Organize activities free of screens that you know they will enjoy (making cakes, playing paintball or swimming, for example), to remind them that there is a huge world away from electronic devices”.
“Screaming will only inflame delicate situations and disrupt all the work you’ve ever had. Take a deep breath ten times before confronting situations that bother you and try to talk about them as calmly as possible, explaining what needs to change.
Encourage children to also communicate calmly about what they feel, and you will have a chance to find alternatives”.
Prohibit ‘face to face’ screens
“One of the main losses that technology brings is the decrease in the time you spend talking to children – and vice versa. Create a rule to establish that when two family members are alone with each other, the devices are always far and out of sight.
With these tips, experts also recommend parents use screen time limit apps such as FamilyTime App to prohibit kids’ tech abuse. With the app in hand, parents can first of all schedule auto screen locks on kids’ devices while being able to monitor their app usage and web history, etc. With that, they can see what apps or web pages keep their kids hooked. The app also offers the option to apply internet filters to ensure kids’ safe browsing and enable parents to block all addictive apps and unwanted web pages using FamilyTime’s parent Dashboard. There are many other helpful features offered by the FamilyTime app, such as Contact Monitoring, SMS monitoring, Call log monitoring, Location tracking, SOS alerts, and more. To try these features yourself, give this app a try for free. You can get the trial version of the app by download the FamilyTime App from Play Store.
If reconnecting to each other is part of the pleasure of unplugging, then focus not only on what is lost when leaving the screens aside but mainly on what is gained”.