It’s the Smartphone Age!
Smartphones Addiction is fast growing into an epidemic, as smartphones are more powerful than ever, and are also more accessible than ever.
Around 3 out of 5 children, these days have smartphones. NPR in 2019 estimated that about 1 out of 5 children already own a smartphone by the age of 8.
With the increased usage of smartphones, especially by children and teens, there are a lot of concerns about how our digital devices can affect our health.
Should You be Worried?
While smartphones can be great for your child’s education, it has also given them access to all sorts of fun apps and games that were once the exclusive domain of adults. This can also lead them down a path of addiction if they don’t know how to handle their phone responsibly.
This article will look at five signs that your child might be addicted to their smartphone. It also provides solutions to help you find balance in your family’s life.
If your child displays any of the following behaviours, you may have caught on to smartphone addiction, hopefully at an early stage.
5 Signs your child is dealing with smartphone addiction
1. Your child can’t go 30 minutes without checking their phone.
This is a common sign that your child is dealing with an addiction to smartphones.
If you notice that your kid has been spending more time on social media or playing games, he or she has likely become hooked on smartphones in some way.
You may not even realize how much time your young one spends staring at the screen. All it takes is day to catch him/her playing a game or binge-watching movies for hours without flinching!
2. Your child is willing to do chores or does other things to get more screen time.
When your child is willing to do chores or other things just so they can watch their phone, it’s a sign that something isn’t right.
While you may be tempted to give in and let them keep playing with their smartphone, but this behaviour will ultimately feed their addiction.
3. Your child uses their phone at times and places they shouldn’t.
You regularly find your child on their smartphone when and where they should not be using their phone, this is a sign that your child has an addiction to the device and needs help.
It is important to enforce strict rules and tactics for these kinds of occurrences, even as far as confiscation of the device if necessary.
4. Your child gets cranky when asked to stop using their phone.
If your child gets cranky when you ask them to stop using their smartphone, it’s a sign that they are addicted. They may not be able to handle being away from their phone because of how much they rely on them and how much time they spend on them. If this is the case, then it could be time for some intervention.
Studies have shown that 56% of teens feel lonely, anxious, or upset when they don’t have their phones with them.
Also, note; your son or daughter may also use their smartphone as an escape from challenges in their lives — such as schoolwork or family issues — and therefore find themselves unable to focus on anything else while using social media apps such as Facebook Messenger (or WhatsApp).
5. You’ve noticed a drop in your child’s grades or sleeping habits.
If your child’s grades are dropping, it could be a sign that they’re spending too much time on their phone. In addition to examining grades and schoolwork, ask yourself if they seem to be sleeping less.
It’s found that teens who spend at least 5 hours daily on their mobile devices are 51% more likely to have inadequate sleep.
It is important to strike a balance between device usage, work and rest in order to prevent smartphone addiction.
It can be hard to set limits with technology, but you have to do it.
Kids are going to be exposed to technology from an early age, and it can be difficult to set limits on your child’s device usage. However, you must do so to prevent smartphone addiction.
The “do now” technique is a helpful way of setting boundaries with your child’s phone usage.
When they ask for something on their smartphone—like a game or app—make them wait until they have time alone or away from other distractions before giving in. This will allow them to think about what they want and why they want it before making any decisions about whether or not it’s worth having access to right now (and therefore potentially becoming addicted).
Strategies to curb smartphone addiction in children
When it comes to phone addiction in children, the first step is to identify the problem. If you believe your child may be addicted to their smartphone based on the signs shared, there are a few strategies you can use to help them curb their addiction:
- Set limits on phone use
This may mean only allowing your child to use their phone for a certain amount of time each day, or banning it from the dinner table or bedroom.
You can also use Applatch to restrict addictive apps while they use their phone for other things. For example, if they use their phone for their homework, but you need them to stay off social media.
- Encourage other activities
Make sure your child is involved in other activities outside of using their phone, such as sports, hobbies, or spending time with friends and family.
- Help them find balance
Teach your child how to balance using their phone and doing other things. Try setting this rule: for every 30 minutes of phone time, they have to do something else for 30 minutes. They can explore activities such as reading, going outside, or talking to someone face-to-face.
- Be a good role model yourself
If you’re constantly on your phone, it’s no wonder your child is following suit. Limit your own screen time and be present when you’re with your child instead of being distracted by your phone.
It’s important to know if your child is on the verge of smartphone addiction or fully hooked. As hard as it can be hard to set limits with technology, it is important that is done.
If you’re concerned your child may be addicted to their smartphone, watch out for the signs shared.
If you already noticed most of these signs in your child, it is time for some tough love and intervention. Try to set limits on their phone time and make sure they still have time for other activities.
You should also monitor their phone usage closely to see if the problem persists.