Over the past 20 years or so, cellphones have become the primary way that we communicate with each other. With the advancement in technology, every part of our day to day lives can be found in our phones. Whether its watching videos or movies, playing games, social media, as well as things more serious like paying bills or attending a meeting remotely. It is important to note that the overwhelming usage of cellphones has affected our kids also.
A survey by Common Sense Media revealed that 53% of our children will have a cellphone by the time they are 11 years old and 84% of our teenagers have them already. With so many different forms of media to consume on a phone, it can definitely get in the way of a young person’s progress and their ability to focus on things that are more important. As parents, it is our job to create the necessary balance our children need to still be productive in other areas.
The same survey also stated that children between the ages of 8-12 years old use their phones for 5 hours a day while teenagers use it 7 hours a day. Keeping in mind that the hours mentioned in the survey didn’t account for times when kids multitask which would probably bring the hours down slightly, but the moral of the story is this: our children are on their phones too much. So, the question becomes, what do we do? Do we take their phones away at certain times of the day? Do we restrict them from viewing certain content? Do we not provide our children with phones at all?
In my opinion, we should land somewhere in the middle. With everything going on in the world, the ability to reach your child at any given moment definitely provides us with peace of mind. Especially if your child is active and spends a lot of time away from home providing them with a phone seems like an easy decision to make. However, how many hours a day they use the phone and the content they view is completely up to us. Regularly checking your child’s phone as well as asking as many questions as possible about what their interested in can go a long way and ultimately make you feel at ease. Making them aware of the predatorial nature of the internet can help prevent unwelcomed situations. Also, we have access to all types of interesting information in the palm of our hands. Encourage your children to look up things that interest them which can help become more knowledgeable about the world we live in.
As parents, we should already monitor our children’s behavior so if your son or daughter is falling behind in school or not keeping up with their choirs at home and it is due to their phone usage….take the phone. We need to remember that the control is in our hands. The societal pressures and influence of people outside of your house should not dictate how we raise our children. So, follow your instinct and do what you know is right. Technology can be a beautiful thing if used correctly.