If you’ve tried to pry the phone away from your little one, you may be familiar with the tantrums and whining. Sometimes, your kid’s smartphone addiction can come in between you and your little one.
A tug-o-war for the phone
It’s the weekend, and you realise your kid has been scrolling endlessly on his/her phone for almost 2 hours! When you try to ask him/her to hand it over, he/she begins to protest.
“Just 5 more minutes, please!”
“Why? It’s the weekend, I deserve to use the phone.”
“But mom, all my friends can use their phones whenever they want to. Why can’t I?”
You purse your lips in resignation and sigh. You allow another 5 minutes, but once that’s over, the same protestations begin again.
Most of us parents have been in that situation before. A temper tantrum ensues and suddenly, you feel like the bad guy. You’ve managed to take the phone away, but at the cost of your child’s positive disposition. Just 5 minutes ago, you saw him/her sitting on the couch giggling away at the screen. Now a scowl is plastered over his/her face and he/she refuses to speak to you.
The wedge between you and your child: smartphones
It’s a tiny device, but for some reason it holds so much weight in your child’s life. When your kid’s smartphone addiction begins to bleed itself into your relationship with your child, it’s time to scale back the screen time. But before you do that, it’s important to understand why your child is seemingly so addicted to his/her smartphone.
This may come as a surprise, however, your kid’s smartphone addiction may not be as unusual as you think. In fact, it’s normal amongst children of the digital generation. In today’s hyper-connected world, your child is exposed to an endless array of online information. The need to check their devices may stem from peer pressure to reply quickly or keep up-to-date with the latest trends on the net. Your child may thus feel a compulsive need to constantly have their hands on their smartphones. This may explain their tantrums when you do decide to keep the phone away.
Removing the wedge and connecting with your child
It’s important to sit down with your child and talk about their screen time. Let your kid know that their smartphone addiction is unhealthy and that there needs to be a balance. While our smartphones help us find information and entertainment for us, we should limit our dependence on them.
Explain to your kid that some screen time is permitted, but when the time is up, the time is up. If your kid’s smartphone addiction gets too alarming, consider using the plano app. The plano app allows you to set specific no-device timings on your child’s phone. The app also reminds your child to take a break every 30 minutes of using their phone so that he/she won’t spend hours upon hours staring at a tiny screen.
Take this opportunity to let your child know that he/she doesn’t have to be doing or watching everything that their friends are doing. Peer pressure is rife amongst schooling children so it’s crucial to create a conversation about that too.
Lastly, it’s essential to check your own screen time. Oftentimes, we like to point fingers at our children’s smartphone addiction, but we have yet to evaluate our own. Children tend to emulate their parents first and hence, we should check our own device use first before we start criticising our children about theirs.