Is smartphone addiction a problem with your teen? It probably comes as no surprise to you that 73 percent of teens have access to a smartphone, according to Pew Research Center. This enables them to spend much of their time online. Ninety-two percent of teens say they go online daily while 24 percent report they’re online “almost constantly.” The typical teen sends and receives 30 texts per day.
Smartphone addiction is a real thing that can lead to serious anxiety issues. Individuals may feel anxious when they have no cell reception or when their phone battery dies. They may also have an intense fear about forgetting or losing their phone. It’s believed that smartphone use can lead to depression and low self-esteem.
Breaking their smartphone addiction allows teens to slow down and enjoy the world around them while learning how to control addictive and self-destructive behaviors. If your child is addicted to his smartphone, consider these steps to helping him.
Try to have fun with it. If your teen isn’t convinced he’s addicted, make a bet with him about how often he unlocks his screen, how many minutes he spends on his phone per day, or what his addiction score might be. That way, he’ll go into the first step willingly and can see for himself how serious his addiction is.
You can also use tools like this to disable the Internet, send auto text messages, or reject phone calls. Schedule when to use these tools. For example, if your family eats dinner at 6:00 p.m. every night, your teen can schedule the phone to disable the Internet and sound notifications at that time so he has a few minutes per day where he’s not disturbed. One of the tips I include for cell phone etiquette in my book Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World is to leave cell phones off or silenced at the dinner table.
Though he may think he needs all those apps to survive, the reality is that most Americans only use about three apps frequently. Encourage your teen to delete the apps he doesn’t use or need. Feel free to sit down with him and do the same with your phone. By eliminating these time-wasters and extra notifications, it helps keep you both from reaching for your phones every few seconds.
Set up a “charging station” in the kitchen or living room. Have everyone leave their devices plugged in there overnight. It keeps the devices out of the bedroom at night and ensures they’re charged up for the next day. It also helps keep your teen from checking his phone first thing in the morning.
You might be surprised to find out how much you’re addicted to your smartphone. According to a recent Bank of America survey, 36 percent of Americans over the age of 18 check their phones constantly. Remember that Pew Research reported this number was 24 percent for teens. That means more adults than teens are constantly on their phones.
To encourage your teen to break their smartphone addiction habit, download the same monitoring apps, follow the same “blackout” schedule, delete your own extra apps, and leave your phone outside the bedroom at night. Your child will be much more likely to follow these steps if you follow with him.
To learn more ways to help your teens break their smartphone addiction and improve their social skills and job skills, check out Kirt Manecke’s award-winning book Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World. Be sure to also check out Kirt’s award-winning book Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service, the essential 60-minute crash course in customer service and sales. Both books are quick and easy to read. Learn more on Kirt’s website.