Is your teen driving you crazy with their constant need to be on their phone? Many parents feel like Smartphone usage is getting out of hand, with their teens compulsively checking their texts and social media platforms. It can be extremely frustrating to feel like they’re glued to their phone, with a lack of interest in talking to family members and having other face-to-face interactions. If you’re sick of getting into fights about their phone use, here are 6 tips on how to get your teen off their phone effectively.
3 Things Parents Should Know About Phones and Teens
1. They Feel Reliant on Them
In this day in age when everyone has a phone, teens feel like they’re missing out if they’re not connected. Technology has created the need for instant replies and gratification, so teens feel the urge to always be checking their notifications.
They feel left out if they don’t respond to a group text right away, and feel the urge to check their social media platforms to see how many likes and comments they get. This compulsive need to always be checking their phone can turn into an addiction.
2. Beware of Cyber Bullying
Teens are using social media apps and texting to cyber bully their peers. Screens give them a sense of “protection” to say things they would probably never say in person, which can lead to very hurtful comments.
If you notice your teen is constantly down after using their phone, being secretive over their devices, or gets nervous or jumpy when they receive a notification, it could be a sign they’re being cyber bullied. Try to talk to them about what’s going on to see if they’ll open up to you.
3. Phones Aren’t Just for Fun
Although a lot of time you may think you teens are just playing around on their phones, they do use their phones for important tasks too. They’re not always just mindlessly scrolling- sometimes they’re answering school-related emails, reading articles about interesting topics, and some apps they need for school require two-factor authentication, which they need their phones for.
If your teen is spending all their time playing games and on social media, it’s an issue, but it’s also important to understand that their phones can be a productive and informative source as well.
8 Signs Your Teen Needs a Break From Their Phone
- They become quickly frustrated or angry
- Drastic personality adjustments
- Difficulty with emotional regulation
- Showing addictive tendencies (extreme reactions when separated from their phone, constantly checking their device for notifications, irritability when not on their phone)
- Loss of interest in non-Smartphone or technology related activities
- Continuous arguments over phone use
- Interrupts whatever else they’re doing when contacted on their phone
- Getting insufficient sleep, resulting in fatigue and irritability during the day
How to Get Your Teen Off Their Phone: 6 Tips to Try
1. Set Ground Rules
If your child’s phone use is getting out of hand, consider setting up screen time limits and downtime. Talk to your teen about this and let them know you’re doing it, so they’re not shocked when they get the notification.
Setting limits without talking to them can lead to frustration and anger, whereas if you have a conversation about it, they can better understand where you’re coming from. They know that when the limit pops up, it’s to remind them that they’ve been scrolling for too long, and will help them to be mindful about their phone usage.
2. Help Them Create Balance
The teenage years are crucial for developing a healthy relationship with technology. It’s super important that your child creates balance in their time between technology, as well as their time spent with friends and family, and other in-person activities.
Create a no-phone rule at meal times so that everyone is present and can talk about their days and what’s going on. And store their phone away during homework time, family get-togethers, and at bedtime.
3. Get Them Involved in Extracurriculars
The busier your teen is with extracurricular activities, like sports, music, or dance, the less time they’ll have to be on their phone. Help your teen figure out what activities they’re interested in so they can spend their time doing things they really enjoy.
Extracurricular activities can help reduce stress, improve mood, and give your teen a sense of purpose and fulfillment. They give them a sense of community and help them feel more supported, creating less reliance on devices.
4. Turn Off Notifications
One of the easiest and most effective things you can do is ask your teen to turn off the notifications on their phone. Every app offers push notifications to let the user know when they’ve received a new comment or “like”. The more notifications you get, the more you interact with the app.
From Instagram to Tiktok, Snapchat and Youtube, your screen will flash incessantly if you have notifications turned off. Turning them off will stop them from constantly wanting to check their phones.
5. Set a Good Example
If you’re always on your phone, but telling your teen they need to get off of theirs, they’re not going to respond well. Reflect on your own screen time and if it’s something you both need to work on, acknowledge that you’re going to be limiting your phone use too. If you have a no-phone rule at meal time, you should never be scrolling at dinner. This will lead to resentment from your teen.
6. Plan Non-Tech Weekend Activities
Plan fun things to do on the weekend that don’t require any screens. Volunteer, take a hike, plan a camping trip, visit a museum, check out a new local cafe, or go to an outdoor food festival.
Teens need to re-learn how to use their time constructively instead of always wanting to be on their phone. Sitting at home on the weekends can lead to boredom and an increase in phone and screen time, so get them out of the house as much as possible!
If you find your teen is becoming more and more obsessed with their phone, try these tips to get more balance into their life!
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