Phone addiction is rampant among our children and students. It has become an addicting outlet for never ending communications, gaming, streaming, and content creation. It is important to recognize signs of phone addiction and set some healthy parameters for encouraging outside play, learning, and entertainment outside of a device. The following are five tell tale signs that your student or child is struggling with phone addiction and the ability to find a healthy balance with their device use.
- The Instant Best Friend- Be on the lookout for how frequently a device is reached for. If the phone is grabbed every second possible- in the car, between classes, during social events, during meal times- it is a very good chance there is an addiction to the phone. Perhaps even check the daily or weekly screen time usage to see how many hours are being logged each day. It is recommended that children and teenagers between the ages of ten and fifteen do not exceed one hour of device time (outside of school learning activities) for healthy technology use.
- The Snappy Conversation- If you find that a child or student is getting upset when a device is being taken away, or that they are short tempered in their communications with you, it is a serious red flag when it comes to device use. Encouraging time away from a device should not lead to big emotions or emotional outbursts. Students and children can require frequent reminders that friendships endure without instant responses, and that a meaningful and fulfilling life also exists outside of a device.
- The Endless Comparison- Be aware that children and teenagers fall victim to constantly comparing themselves to the unrealistic ideals of social media influencers, celebrities, and creative content makers. Some may even become hyperfocused on achieving a certain look, obtaining a certain amount of followers, and acquiring a certain amount of likes. Constantly comparing oneself to others is not healthy, contributes to phone addiction, and firm boundaries on device use can help curb some of these unhealthy comparisons.
- The Late Night Hours- Too many children and students are sacrificing precious sleep hours in exchange for late night gaming, messaging, and entertainment. If your child or student is struggling to tuck away the device at night, in exchange for a good night's sleep, there is some unhealthy device addiction occurring. It is strongly encouraged to have one full hour of screen free time before bed to ensure a restful and fulfilling sleep.
- The Emotional Rollercoaster- Excessive device use and phone addiction comes with many harmful effects to our daily lives- poor mental health, lack of emotional regulation, and reduced physical exercise. Personal device use should never be taking priority over one’s physical, mental, and emotional well being. Just like many other addictions in this world, phone addiction comes with a cost to your quality of life and your personal relationships with others.