I just read an article in USA Today citing a report from Common Sense Media that 50% of teens say they are addicted to their mobile devices.
I am sure if you think about it, you would most likely agree with those finding as well. It seems everyone has their head in their device.
So, what do we do about it?
Here’s my advice:
- Model the use of mobile devices that you wish to see. They are watching us.
- Limit their alone time with their devices.
- Encourage “creating with their device” over consuming with their device. Work with them to create movies and other creations.
- Enforce bedtimes for devices. That’s right, the device is put away at a certain hour for the night and it does not go with them to their bedrooms.
- Establish device-free zones and device-free times. (e.g. No device in the bathroom or during dinner.)
- Have them show you what they do on the device. Sit with them. Remember that time you spent with them when they were little? Get that back.
- Create alternatives for your children and play with them. (Board games, walks, workouts, any type of social interaction will trump device consumption. They grow up so fast!)
These seven methods to help address teen mobile device addiction may be a little challenging to set-up at first. I recommend not trying to implement all seven at once. Start with one, but be firm.
Ultimately, begin this conversation with your child using a mobile device regardless of their age.
Technology is awesome when it is used well, and it can be destructive to families and lives when it is used poorly. Teach your children and students to use their devices properly.
This same advice can also be helpful to you.