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How to Deal with Kid`s Smartphone Addiction: Guide for Parents

Nearly every parent is concerned about the time their kids spend online using their tablets, smartphones or TV. Talking about digital technologies, they can be a double-edged sword for kids. It means that they can bring both good and bad for kids. From one side, digital technologies help to interact with friends and broaden their mind, but from the other side, it can bring a lot of harm, especially to a kid who doesn’t know how to use digital technologies wisely.

Spending too much time on screens can also be linked to such problems as sleep deprivation, eye strain, social isolation, depression, low self-esteem, and other health problems. In the worst-case scenario, it can even lead to digital addiction.

Digital Addiction Signs

First of all, digital addiction starts from failure to cease using electronic devices or when their use starts to affect social life and family. As for kids screens, the signs are not that much different. Here is the list of warning signs you need to look for to figure out if your kid is screen-addicted.

  1. You kid can’t control screen time – Young kids have troubles with stopping using their digital devices, so the best way is to establish limits on their screen time.
  2. No interest in everyday activities – If digital devices are the only one thing that your kid is interested in, and such activities as sports, books, toys don’t really hold their interest, then you need to reconsider their screen time and set limits.
  3. All thoughts are occupied by digital technologies – Even if your kid is not playing online games, but talking non-stop about Minecraft or guessing what their favorite blogger will post next or acting out scenes from Spider-Man, it is also an indicator of screen addiction.
  4. Social Isolation – Your kid sneaks a look at his electronic device while you try to talk? Or constantly texting during the meal? If screens stand up against family activities, it can be a worrying sign to act decisively.
  5. Family problems – If you have constant quarrels concerning the use of digital devices or disputes related to something you want to watch it is a sign of an unhealthy relationship not only with screens but in your family too.
  6. Signs of withdrawal – If your kids get frustrated every time they need to turn off the TV and put their digital devices away, they may actually be experiencing withdrawal.
  7. Lack of Tolerance – If before your kid used to spend 30 minutes on screens after their homework assignment is done, but now they even text on their way from school to home, it means that they have lack of tolerance.
  8. Deception – Your kid is hiding a smartphone under the bed or telling lies about how long they’ve been playing online game or surfing the net. This red flag is very serious as it not just leads to social deprivation, but also can contribute to the interaction with cyberbullies, or even online predators.
  9. Their mood depends on screens – If after a bad day at school your kid needs a game or TV show to escape from hustle and bustle of everyday life or to lift their spirit, it can be an indicator of screen addiction.

There is no clear answer to how many of these red flags your kid has to show to have an addiction. But if your kid has more than one sign, then it might be high time to reevaluate the screen time in your family and make an attempt to pawn your little ones off the screens before the dependency damages them.

Teens and Technology Statistics

  • 95 % of teens own a smartphone;
  • Around 45 % of teens are online almost constantly;
  • 71% of teens use more than one social network platform;
  • 56 % of teens from 13 to 17 years old go online several times per day, while 12 % go online once a day;
  • 85 % of teens use YouTube, 72 % use Instagram, 69 % use Snapchat and 52 % use Facebook;

How to Prevent Digital Addiction with mSpy

Being a parent in the era of digital technologies is a pretty challenging task. But you may be surprised to hear that you may prevent screen addiction using modern technologies. Using such parental controls like mSpy you can not just supervise your kid’s online activities, but also establish clear boundaries for screen usage.

mSpy provides parents with the vast range of monitoring features. Here is how these features might help parents to deal with their kid’s digital addiction:

  • Browsing History: Parents can keep tabs on their kids’ online activities, supervising the list of visited websites and filtering the dangerous ones;
  • App Usage: Parents can view the list of installed apps and block the ones they consider dangerous. For instance, gaming apps, whose use may escalate to addiction.
  • Text Messages: Parents can read all incoming and outgoing messages of your kid, having a clue with whom they are talking and what they are typing.
  • Call Logs: Parents can monitor all incoming and outgoing calls and restrict unwanted ones.
  • Emails: Parents can read all sent, received and even the deleted emails to be sure their kids don’t receive hazardous or inappropriate links;
  • GPS Location: Parents can check where their kid is at this very moment and ensure they are not skipping classes to play video games.
  • Geo-Fencing: Parents can set safe (home, school) and dangerous (gaming club) areas and get a notification every time your kid breaches them.
  • Keylogger: Parents can capture every keystroke on their kid’s devices and get alerts every time their kids type dangerous word-combinations, preventing interaction with potentially dangerous strangers.
  • Instant messengers (Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, etc.): Parents can check all their kids’ conversations and be aware of with whom they are texting and when they do it. Besides, parents can view timestamps and figure out if their kids stay up late or start their day from checking their social media accounts.
  • Wi-Fi Networks: Parents can check the hotspots their kid’s device is connected to for discovering the locations their kids are visiting. For instance, they may claim that they are at school, but you will see that they are in a gaming club.

What Else May Help?

  1. Be a good role model: If you make attempts to limit your kid’s screen time, limit your own media use too. It is not acceptable to limit your kid’s screen time, while you constantly texting or watching TV.
  2. Value face-to-face communication: For smaller kids, face to face communication is very important as it helps to build social skills and promote language development. For older kids, face-to-face communication is equally important as it helps to keep the lines of communication open and build up the relations of trust between you and your kid.
  3. Create tech-free zones: Make your family dinners and other gatherings screen free. Don’t keep your e-devices in your bedroom and teach kids to follow your advice. Also, it will help to avoid the temptation to answer a text when your kid is supposed to sleep. All these changes will encourage more family time, better sleep and healthier eating habits.
  4. Set limits and encourage playtime: Screen time should have reasonable boundaries. Encourage your kid to spend more time outdoors, as offline play stimulates creativity.
  5. Educate your kid: Talk about the dangers the digital technologies may lead to. Teach your kid how to act once they receive offensive text or inappropriate request. Social media, as well as gaming platforms, are teamed with online predators and cyberbullies, so telling kids how to act beforehand may help to prevent undesired consequences.

Digital addiction is a serious disorder that can lead to many troubles. So, as a parent, it is crucial to keep eyes wide open and be attentive to the red flags. Having face-to-face communication alongside with imposed boundaries may help to prevent and protect your kid from screen addiction and other online dangers.

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mSpy Articles 2018
How to Deal with Kid`s Smartphone Addiction: Guide for Parents
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How to Deal with Kid`s Smartphone Addiction: Guide for Parents
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Does our kid spends a lot of time on screens making you high wrought? Get some fresh air by using mSpy parental control app.
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