Smartphone addition among children is the new villain. Did you know that phone addiction has an official name? It is ‘nomophobia’ (no-mobile phone phobia) and it has caught on. The smart phone addiction test is a good tool to use on your kids, to see if the problem is grave enough to be tackled on an emergency basis. However, there are proven ways to help children overcome smartphone addiction.
Addiction cure#1: Music
You may not be aware of it, but music is the only activity – known to mankind – that can fully involve a child’s attention, arouse his/her interest and at the same time increase her IQ. It is the number one antidote to phone addiction. It has even therapeutic effects. There is no better gift you could ever give to a young child (or a person of any age, for that matter) than a genuine chance to learn inspirational music from a genuinely gifted teacher. Such moments and opportunities are rare and must be taken full advantage of when they manifest in real life. Any person of any age will benefit from learning music, but the children benefit the most. It is estimated that one hour’s worth of practice can accomplish in a child what would take an adult 8 hours or more to master. Watch for this chance like a hawk, and pounce upon it with all your might if it ever arrives. As already stated, such moments occur very rarely in life. And we need to be ready and willing if it ever arrives.
Addiction cure#2: Sports
Youngsters are full of energy, and that energy, if not channelized, can be destructive. But if ever that energy is genuinely harnessed into sports like cricket, football, badminton, or even martial arts like judo and karate, that energy can yield fruit. Plentiful, abundant, rich, lasting fruits. If all the energy your child has been ever invested into learning one particular activity that is the choice of both the parent and the child (both must agree), your young prospective genius could really become a genius in reality. Every child is a genius. The parents need to be given the divinely blessed moment to channelize that energy at the right time in the right direction.
Addiction cure#3: Spend Time with Your Kids
If your kids are spending more time with their cell phones than with you, something is missing somewhere. And the problem may not be with your kids. The problem may be with you. Do you prioritize your kids into your life? Do your children matter enough to you that you spend quality time with them on a regular basis? Your children will be young only once. Take this full opportunity to win your child’s heart for a lifetime by showing them that you genuinely care for them by being with them on a regular basis. The importance of this cannot be exaggerated. Simple as that.
Addiction cure#4: Ban Cell Phones and Gadgets during Meals
During a meal, a family is together, united, sharing something in common and enjoying each other’s company. Even if this might not be practical, it’s worth a shot – ban all cell phones, tablets, laptops and similar items during mealtimes. Time with family is sacred. Even if there is a genuine crisis in office, take the timeout to be with your family at least at mealtimes. You will find that your performance at work will actually improve once you take more rest. So spending time with your family could, actually, be the best way to advance your career!
Addiction cure#5: (Most Important) Get Away from the Smart Phone Yourself!
This simple fact is actually the most obvious but also the most overlooked aspect of this entire process. Children imitate their parents. It’s no joke. They do whatever they see their parents doing. If you spend time busy with office work, cell phone calls, and being open to constant interruption as a daily hazard of life, your children will see that. They may often never do what you tell them, but they will definitely do whatever it is that they see you are doing. Children learn by example. Not by any amount of words. If this has been a toxic side of your family environment for generations – I challenge you – be the change element. Be that one generation that makes a difference.
Addiction cure#6: Enforce rules regarding smart phone use before buying it
Before buying the smart phone for your child, make sure that you lay down the ground rules to which both your kids and yourself should agree.
- Smart phones will not be taken to school, or to social gatherings where people are supposed to talk to each other instead of being absorbed in the gadget.
- Smart phones will not be used for anything that is considered unhealthy, for watching sexually explicit videos, or to waste time watching reality shows.
- Smart phones will be switched off after 8 pm every day.
- Smart phones will not be kept in the children’s bedrooms during the night.
- Smart phone password will be shared with the parents.
- Charging the smart phone will be done only if and when the parents feel they have money to spare for that purpose.
- If there is a decrease in grades or school performance due to increased use of the smart phone, it can be confiscated by the parents.
- Parents will confiscate the smart phone if they find out that the child has been watching inappropriate content.
The smart phone, is obviously smart, but it is up to us to use it in smart ways, in ways that are beneficial to us. Let is not rule us, let it be just the tool that it is intended to be. Did you notice one common element in all the addiction cures mentioned above? It is this: there should be a basic relationship between the child and the parents that would lead the child to allow the parents to take decisions for him/her. In other words, the child should have been taught basic elements of respect towards parents and a willingness to listen to them.
Let us use the smart phone smartly.