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Screaming For The Screen: Dealing With Your Child’s Phone Addiction

Limiting your child’s screen time can quickly turn into a warzone. Here are some tips on managing your child’s smartphone use.

More screen time, more problems.

Smartphones are here to stay, and it is unsurprising for children to have access to a plethora of social media sites, gaming applications, and more. While these applications are not inherently bad, what is of concern is the amount of time spent on them. Too much time spent staring at the screen can lead to vision health issues, sleep disruption, and affect their posture. However, one question asking your child to put the phone down can sometimes lead to moodiness, tantrums, and even withdrawal symptoms.

Glued to the screen? Here’s how to pry them away.

There is a saying that goes, “there’s a time and place for everything”. If your child is constantly on his/her phone no matter what time of day it is, he/she may be addicted to their phones. As parents, it’s natural to want to manage this. 

1. Hands-free.

Our phones have become appendages; an extension of our hands. This is no different for our children who are growing up in a digital era. If these devices are consuming their attention throughout the day, consider implementing a “no device” time frame. These time frames can be implemented during a meal, a family outing, before bed, or simply at a specific time of the day to engage in other offline activities. Whatever time frame you set for your child, use that time to keep the phones away from his/her hand, and spend some good ol’ fashion bonding time together.

2. Time limits. 

If your child does need to use their phones, consider limiting their time online. By doing so, it inculcates the value of moderation in your child. You can do this by negotiating with your child how long they intend to use their smart devices. Allowing your child to be involved in this discussion teaches them the importance of responsibility, and helps you work together with your child to cultivate healthy device habits.

3. Role model.

It is important to be a role model for your child. If junior observes that it’s acceptable for you to use your phone at the dinner table, he/she will follow suit. As children tend to emulate their parents, set a good example for your child by limiting your own screen time. If you feel an itch to reply to a message during dinner, remember, your child is watching, and that message can wait.

4. Get out.

Teach your child about how fun the outdoors are by going on excursions, device-free of course. Scheduling a weekend out can help to develop an appreciation for the world beyond your child’s screen, and enhance family bonding as well. In fact, studies have shown that spending at least 2 hours outside a day can help to keep myopia at bay

Monitoring your kids’ screen time is critical to prevent addiction and delay the onset of vision problems. However, looking over your kid’s shoulder to check on their device use can take up a lot of time. If you need to monitor your kid’s smartphone, the plano app can help you track the amount of time your child is using on his/her phone, and set time limits for them.

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