How to help your kids establish healthy cellphone boundaries

help your kids establish healthy cellphone boundaries

Are you wondering how you can help your kids establish healthy cellphone boundaries? It’s a worrying fact that children today spend more time on cell phones than ever before. A study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discovered an increase in parents allowing their infants to watch shows on their smartphones. School-age kids and teens spend anywhere from four to nine hours a day on screens. Unfortunately, this time online doesn’t include the additional screen time needed for homework.  

Keeping Your Kids Safe Online
Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

Research shows that spending too much time on a device can damage your kid’s physical and mental health. Learn how to help your kids establish healthy cellphone boundaries.

Why Cellphone Boundaries Are Necessary

Studies show a clear link between kids who spend too much time on smartphones and those who get poor sleep and grades. Research has found children who sit in front of screens, rather than those who have an active lifestyle, are more likely to become overweight or obese. Other physical conditions your child might experience include eye fatigue and tension headaches. Extended cell phone usage leads to the muscles around your kid’s eyes getting tired or tense, leading to a headache. 

Digital addiction is a growing concern. The average person spends 24 hours a week online, and over 17 are spent on screens at home. This increased screen time can worsen a child’s mental health. Studies have documented that teens are more likely to develop depressive symptoms with excessive screen time usage. Thankfully, you can help your child improve their emotional and physical help by reducing their screen time.

1. Use a Calendar

Try using an interactive media time calendar to plan how much time your kid spends on screens and other activities. Having a clear picture of how your child spends their time will allow you to set better boundaries. Next, write your kid’s schedule down on a poster and put it in a prominent location so you can both refer to the calendar.

If you plan to limit your child’s cell phone usage to two hours a day, perhaps an hour after school and one before bedtime, make sure they are aware of the change. Point it out on the calendar and refer to it if your child puts up a fight. Understand that it could be a difficult transition at first, but it’s ultimately for their good.    

2. Lead by Example

One of the best ways to set screen time boundaries is to lead by example. If you’re always looking at your phone, chances are your kid will be, too. Your child is watching you for social cues. Limit your own time and make it a rule that there is no cellphone use during dinner time.

3. Keep Screens Out of Rooms

Establish healthy cellphone boundaries by keeping all screens out of your kid’s room. Ensure your child doesn’t go to sleep with their phone or charge their device in their room overnight. Move any TVs, tablets or computers out as well. Help your child understand this new rule of a screen-free room is for their benefit because they will sleep better and be healthier.

This rule might get a lot of pushback, especially from older kids, but see it through. Children who have devices in their rooms have increased screen time compared to kids who don’t. It’s up to you to help your child by setting the boundary of no cellphones at bedtime.   

4. Educate Your Kids

Educate your child about the internet. Talk to them about their digital footprint and the importance of being a kind online citizen. What they say stays, whether they’re playing a game online or posting a comment on social media. The internet’s memory is long, and your child must understand all their words will likely be accessible in the future. 

You can also try to assist your teen on social media by friending them on several accounts. Become familiar with the differences between TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter to keep track of their online presence. Doing so can ensure they stay safe and follow a set of rules you agree on.

5. Try Apps to Force a Break

Another tactic to encourage your child to step away from their phone is to install apps to enable routine breaks. This can remind your kid to set the cellphone down and get up and walk around. Some apps lock the screen for a set amount of time, while others send a reminder to move around. Even a timer app, which you can arrange for 30 minutes or an hour, serves well to remind your child to put down their phone and return to their homework.

Help Your Kids Set Healthy Cellphone Boundaries

You must put cell phone boundaries in place for your child’s mental and physical health. Help your kid make the transition to healthy limits by leading by example, using a calendar, keeping all screens out of their room and educating your kid on how to be a responsible online citizen. Doing so will benefit them well into the future.

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