How to Effectively Limit Your Child’s Phone Usage
The phone, a device once used solely for the purpose of calling one another, has quickly become capable of just about everything. The birth of mobile phones has brought the world to our finger tips, both good and bad. And who would have believed a decade ago that these smart portable computers would be in the hands of most kids.
With such a powerful device now available to just about everyone, it becomes more and more of a challenge to limit your child’s usage of their phone. Activities available on a smart phone seem endless; playing games, making music, watching videos, and even browsing the internet. Unfortunately, as with many things in life, without moderation and protections put in place, there can be consequences.
Should I Allow My Child to Get a Phone?
Before asking whether how to limit your child’s phone usage, it is probably worth discussing whether your child should be allowed to have a phone in the first place. A phone is an extremely useful tool for your child to have in order to gain a sense of independence, allowing them to attend after-school clubs or extracurricular activities while staying in contact with you.
While your child may claim that all of their friends have a phone and try to use this as a reason that they should have one, it is up to you to decide at what age it is appropriate and not their friend’s parents. By allowing your child to have a phone at a young age, you are essentially granting them access to an unfiltered and unsafe world that they are not be ready for.
Limiting my Child’s Phone Usage
Luckily, when you decide that it is the right time for your child to have a phone, there are still parental control filters that can be installed to ensure that they aren’t visiting unsafe sites, as well as any site that isn’t age-appropriate. It is also possible to install parental control filters to actually limit the amount of time that they spend online each day. While you may think that installing these filters is all you need to do, it is important that the limits that you set are fair and that you also set a good example for your children with your own phone usage.
A Digital Family Alliance
Although parental filters can definitely help, sometimes setting strict limits on your children’s devices while you continue to use yours to your heart’s content can create tension in your household. Creating a digital family alliance is a great way to adopt healthy digital habits together. By being honest with your children, it opens up a dialogue where everyone can contribute, letting each family member explain the difficulties they have when it comes to limiting the amount of time they spend on their phone. After all, how can you expect your children to get away from their phones if you can’t get away from yours?
Is all Phone Usage bad for your Children?
Although we have been talking about limiting our children’s phone usage, it would be wrong to say that all phone usage is bad for them. Having a phone does give your child a sense of independence as well as allowing them to stay in contact with friends and even participate in productive activities.
Today, children can use their phones to learn digital art, how to make music, and even get into photography, the potential is limitless. The point here is that it is important to understand how much time should be spent on non-productive activities such as scrolling through social media or watching endless YouTube videos to name a few. Monitoring the amount of time that they are using their phone for these different activities is crucial to allowing them to enjoy any creative hobbies that they may need their phone for while cutting out the junk food of their digital diet.
So we can agree that our phones are incredibly useful devices when in the right hands. By working together as a family we can create rules that are easy enough for everyone to sustainably adhere to. If you are thinking of limiting your child’s phone usage, make sure to ask them how long they think is an acceptable amount of time to spend on their phones and create an open space where you can discuss your digital week. After all, families can get through anything when they work together.