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Mobile phone addiction is becoming a widespread occurrence in both our own lives, and our children’s. Most prominent signs of early mobile phone addiction are when the little one refuses to put the phone down, often unable to go the day without their mobile. They feel the urge to pick up their phone no matter what the situation is and where they are. They create their own world within their phone and are often afraid that they might miss something, whether it’s a notification or a message. Hence, they’re often finding themselves checking their phone in class, at dinner, or even wake up late at night to see if anyone posted anything online.
Other signs of mobile phone addiction are:
Here are some tips on how to lower your little one’s screen time!
Set the example - The truth is children often like to imitate our behaviours. This will probably be a tough one but if you’re noticing yourself spending too much time on your mobile, your child will most likely behave in a similar manner. Put your phone down, set a perfect example and watch the miracle happen!
Talk and explain - The most important step towards limited screen time is explaining why. Have a conversation with your kids and clarify the dangers of spending too much time on their phone.
Limit their time step by step - Don’t make any drastic changes, that can cause an upset in the little one, make sure you are limiting the time bit by bit, so they get a good chance to get used to the changes.
Set a reward system - We all know how hard it is to put our phone down once we’re sucked into the world of social media - it’s hard to snap out of it! It’s the same for our children, in fact children find it even tougher to change their habits. If you see that they are making progress, make sure you reward them for their little victories.
(We created a printable reward chart which you can download at the bottom of the page!)
Phone-free zones - Set phone-free zones in the house e.g. no phones at the dinner table or bathrooms.
No sleeping with their phone next to the bed - This will prevent the little one from going on their phone late at night or the urge to check it If they wake up during the night.
Observe your child’s behaviour - Mobile phones aren’t always a bad thing… they can be used to express creativity, play brain teasing games and learning. However, It's important to know what the little one uses their mobile phone for, therefore you should keep an eye on their activities (be careful not to be too intruding as it can have a negative effect on their trust towards you).
We recommend downloading parenting apps like Qustodio or iHound. Qustodio allows you to set a limit on daily mobile usage, block harmful websites and content and send you reports of their usage. IHound is a great GPS app which alerts you when they leave a set location, great for knowing when they leave school or afterschool activities.
Limiting screen time can be extremely hard and it’s a common thing in children so don’t worry! You are not alone!