Yes, I have posted about smart phones before and I feel strongly about the impact these devices can have on our family dynamics. Here is the previous article I wrote earlier this year, but enjoy this recap below.
I think it’s safe to say that we need to be present with our loved ones, with our friends, and even with ourselves for a chunk of time each day. While I know this, I still find myself being distracted by this one thing on a regular basis: my smartphone. This includes social media, text, phone calls, and email. We have all learned to be good multi-taskers, and that is great…and not so great, if you think about it.
As adults, we are able to filter some of the distractions and continue working throughout our day. But think of our kids! Even though their phones may be in their pockets at school, I bet most of them have the “buzz” feature on. Every time that phone buzzes they may wonder, “Who is texting me, what funny picture is on my phone, are my friends mad at me?” And how many kids are sneaking a peek in school multiple times an hour?
It troubles me that so many of my students are depressed, anxious, and lacking concentration at school. Many school counselor friends and teachers have noticed the same thing. We may be able to filter it out but our kids do not have the same filtering capabilities as adults.
4 tips for managing your cell phone and your family
We can’t take them away completely, but here are some ideas for you and your family.
Have a loving conversation about this article with your whole family…do not make it a punitive conversation
Set some small goals with your family such as: everyone put their phones in a basket (with ringer and buzzer off) during dinner time, set your phone to silent at night, leave phones in a safe place in the car when you go to a movie, etc. Some kids will fight this, but just make a group goal to try it out!
If your child is abusing their smartphone get them a flip phone for awhile. I am not a big fan of long term consequences. I like kids to be able to earn privileges and consequences on a daily basis, rather than losing a privilege for several days/months. Call me or email me to discuss specific issues with your child
Look at your own smartphone addiction. You can’t help your kids unless you look in the mirror first. Model the behavior you want to see.
Please don’t feel guilty after reading this post. There is definitely a fun “rush” of looking at your phone sometimes. I know I get a lot of work done because of my smartphone. It makes me more productive at times. Let’s just all take a good, hard look at when we can shut down the “noise” for certain hours of the day; let’s also set family goals together and help our kids see that drugs/alcohol are not the only addictions present in our lives.