By: Meghan Mathias
Pretty much everyone has a smartphone these days, meaning a phone is more than just a phone, it’s a lifeline. GPS, social media, staying in contact with friends and family, getting rides to places, staying safe, etc. Our lives are shaped around our smartphones, and this can mean that becoming “addicted” to your screen time is hard to avoid.
Pew Research Center reports that 85% of Americans now own smartphones. This same study was first done in 2011 and it reported only 35% of Americans at the time. According to TechRepublic, Americans open their phones 160 times a day, or every 9 minutes. DataReportal claims that on average, a person spends 4 hours and 10 minutes on mobile devices every day. These statistics are definitely scary to look at and they might have you wondering whether you or your family should be concerned about phone addiction.
Symptoms of Phone Addiction
- You reach for your phone the minute you are bored or alone
- You feel anxious and short-tempered when you can’t be on your phone
- Your phone use interferes with your job performance, school work, relationships, etc.
- The first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night is check your phone
Tips to Help Your Child Beat a Phone Addiction
- Set boundaries for phone use, such as taking their phone away at a certain time of night and keeping it until a certain time in the morning, or taking the phone during family meals and events.
- Keep tabs on your kid’s average screen-time. There is a function in most smartphone settings that lets you know the user’s average daily, weekly, monthly, etc. screen-time.
- Keep an eye out for symptoms of phone addiction, such as laziness, depression, anxiety, short-temper, etc. and consider talking to your child about these emotions and how they relate to their phone use
- Enroll them in social activities and hobbies, such as sports, clubs, music lessons, etc. Real life entertainment is going to curb the need to constantly be searching for entertainment through a screen.
- Do you think you could live without your phone? Why or why not?
- What functions on your phone do you spend the most time on? Social media apps? Texting? Games?
- Have you ever felt distracted from a real life situation because you wanted to be on your phone? Why is that a problem?
- What is one activity that will always make you instantly forget about your phone?
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