Addressing Cell Phone and Social Media Issues with Children and Teens

If you are the parent of a cell-phone-toting child or teen then you know first-hand how much of a challenge it can be to limit his or her activity on said phone.

Gone are the days of getting together in the neighborhood to play a game of street hockey or tackle football. No longer are kids interested in getting together for a walk to the park or for a bike ride around the neighborhood.  Kids these days would rather spend time sitting on their phones, either playing games, watching videos, or communicating with friends.

For some parents, allowing their children unlimited cell phone usage is perfectly fine…for the rest of us, however, too much phone time is concerning.

Below are three simple rules/strategies that parents can put in place to limits their child’s phone and/or social media time while at home (or even while away from home).

    1. A rule that I use at home with my own teen daughter is as follows: Phone time is allowed only during the first fifteen minutes of each hour. For instance, she can be on her phone from the top of the hour until a quarter after.  If she is caught using her phone outside of that time-frame then she forfeits her time for the next hour PLUS she owes 10 minutes of chore time (to be determined by me!).
    2. Another idea is to allow phone usage for an hour in the morning, and hour in the afternoon, and then another hour before bedtime. When the phone is not in use then it should be stored in a neutral location that prevents the child from constantly checking their phone. This arrangement works best during weekends and/or in the summer.
    3. And finally, parents can purchase an app that places limits on their child’s phone. There are apps that can restrict just about anything – times, contacts, which apps can be used, etc. A quick internet search will provide several options to choose from.

So, if you’re the parent of a child or teen that just can’t seem to limit his or her phone usage then perhaps one of the above tips/ideas will help.