Getting kids off their mobile devices

Consider these startling statistics: It’s believed that upwards of 75% of teens have smartphones, 1 in 2 feels addicted to his or her device and 72% say they feel the need to immediately respond to texts and social networking messages.

So, what can you do about this growing addiction to mobile devices?

  • Set guidelines with your kids about how much smartphone usage is acceptable, including instituting a no usage rule in the evening and into the next morning (for example, mobile phones are locked away from 9 pm to 7 am) and half-hour timeouts where they’re not allowed to check their devices.
  • Monitor their phone and data usage to gauge how much it’s being used and provide incentives for reducing usage – for instance, a bigger allowance. Alternatively, “charge” them from their allowance if their usage is too high. You can also limit the apps they’re allowed to install, like games or social media sites, so they don’t use their device for everything.
  • Encourage your kids and their friends to have more face-to-face interaction. For example, when friends come over, ask everyone to leave their phones in their coat pockets on vibrate while they’re watching TV.
  • Consider family outings – like local attractions, the zoo or museums – where phones are left at home or projects where they’re left in their bedrooms. If one is necessary in case of emergencies, keep it available but out of reach, like in your purse or the trunk of your car.
  • If your kids don’t yet have a mobile phone, consider delay giving them one by rewarding them in other ways – like with a new bike, lessons for a sport or activity they enjoy

And remember, it’s not just teens who have a problem. More than 1 in 4 parents feel addicted to their phones too. So set the example and put your phone away too.

Do you have your own tips and tricks to control cellphone use? Please share them with your fellow Shop Talk blog community forum members!

Did you know? How young is too young?

The average age for a child getting his or her first phone is now 10.3 years and 55% of kids use tablets during car rides. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the forum. (Source)

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