A New Era of Phone Obsession
July 6, 2016

In today’s world, it’s hard to imagine a life without cell phones. They consume a large quantity of our time every day, new gadgets, toys, and devices continue to integrate themselves into our daily lives. We have been so entranced with technology, that we’ve hardly consider what the negative effects cell phone use in teens could have. But, like with most new thing, we’ve begun seeing the negative consequences attached to certain technologies, primarily phones. Anything taken or used excessively can be harmful, which is why a phone obsession isn’t healthy.

With youth being the generation of “digital natives,” you would assume young people would primarily suffer with phone obsessions, but, according to Common Sense Media’s surveys, this isn’t necessarily true. Around 27 percent of parents think they may have a phone obsession and 41 percent of teens feel that their parents don’t pay enough attention to them because of they’re on their phones. With these numbers, it seems like children and their parents both could use some tips on how to curb a phone obsession. Psychology Today recently wrote an article outlining ways to do just that.

7 ways to combat a phone obsession

  1. Talk about it with your family. If you think you or any member of the family is spending too much time staring at their phone, maybe it’s time to call a family meeting. Discuss the issues with a phone obsession openly and calmly, attacking one member of the family will just cause conflict. Each member of the family should reflect on their phone use and whether they believe it’s problematic.
  2. Recognize it. When you’re in denial, there’s always a little voice in the back of your head speaking a secret truth: “You really do prioritize your phone over your family time.” Recognizing the voice is the first step to being able to take action.
  3. Set up rules for yourself. For example, you could tell yourself that when you go to your daughter’s ballet class, you’ll only use your phone to take a photo–nothing else. Setting up small rules for yourself helps you create boundaries and forms a certain amount of mindfulness surrounding how to control your phone obsession.
  4. Create times for technology. Figure out what your balance is specifically for you–everyone is different. Maybe one hour on Facebook at a time when the family is busy is enough for you, but not for your teen. Finding out the balance is key, because a certain amount can feed your phone obsession or control it.
  5. Find the root of the phone obsession. Many people turn to their phones when they’re bored, in an uncomfortable situation, or need a distraction–but this often removes us from what’s happening in the moment, whether that’s your daughter’s soccer game or son’s swimming lessons. By bringing mindful awareness to these actions, we can combat them more easily.
  6. Form technology free zones. Now don’t go crazy with this, consult your family before you form any boundaries and make sure you all agree on where they would be the most productive and effective. A great one to begin with is the dining table. Creating a technology free zone during meals creates a great time for everyone to catch up and enjoy food.
  7. Have activities that don’t include technology. These can be individual and family activities. An example of an individual activity would be daily meditation or a morning stroll. An example of a family activity would be going to the park to play ultimate frisbee or going to the movies. These are fun activities that keep your mind off of your phone.

For more information about phone obsession, check out Solstice East.

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