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Living in the age of technology, we’re pretty used to seeing people of all ages absorbed by their phones. While it’s something we’re probably all a little guilty of, it can be a problem when our children follow suit. If you’re struggling to prise your child away from their device, here are some top tips.
In this day and age, it isn’t possible or safe to stop your children using mobile phones. First things first, make sure your child has an age-appropriate device. A smartphone with unlimited access to the internet, for example, might not be the best choice for a younger child who might not yet be able to understand the risks and dangers that come with being online. A little online research will help you find a device that’s suitable for your child’s needs. You might find that selecting a more age-appropriate device will render your child’s mobile less interesting to them and encourage them to spend more time away from it.
Children nowadays will conduct even more of their lives online than we did when we were young so it’s important to understand the part their device plays in their social life. With this in mind, try not to use phone restrictions as an everyday punishment as this will only cause rifts and arguments. It is also important to remember that a mobile phone is as much for safety as it is for fun; so, removing them as punishment may not be the greatest idea.
Instead, try to set phone-free times agreed by the whole family. Agreeing to put away your phones at mealtimes or during family visits, for example, will set up clear boundaries about what is and what isn’t acceptable mobile usage. Including your children in discussions about what these boundaries should be will also help them to feel part of the decision and therefore happier about sticking to the rules.
That being said, don’t be a hypocrite either! Your children aren’t likely to make positive changes to their mobile phone usage if they only ever see you glued to your screen too. You have to stick to the rules as well, plus it can be a great way to re-evaluate how much time you spend on your phone.
If the worst comes to the worst, you can always use parental control apps. Unless your child is a working teenager, it’s most likely that you will have paid for their device so you’re well within your rights to install parental control apps that will allow to have a say in when they’re using their phones. Again, don’t do this arbitrarily as it will just result in a lack of trust, however limiting use of phones after bedtime, at school, and during other important occasions can be a good idea.