In a technology and communication driven age, the convenience of a smartphone can easily grow into an addiction. Phones are used from everything from communication, checking the time, and ‘doom-scrolling’ through social media. While adults often hear about or research the risks associated with too much screen time, children and teens are sometimes left to fend for themselves.
What to do?
Printing out a study performed by a university might be easy, but the best results come from example and action.
Here are some ways to decrease screen time and screen dependence that are so easy the whole family can join.
Create App Limits in Your Settings
If you spend all day scrolling through Instagram, your child may copy your behavior. Work together to limit screen time as a family–ironically with the help of apps. Android and iPhones currently have systems designed to help limit usage of certain apps. Spend too much time on social media? Set up a time limit.
Nothing draws you to your phone like that vibrate or ping. By turning off all but the most necessary notifications, the draw to pick up the phone is decreased. Talk with your family and consider selecting a customized notification sound for Mom and Dad.
Consider Calling Instead of Texting
An easy way to reduce screen time is to replace texting with a quick phone call when you need to coordinate with friends or family. While a text might feel faster, it’s actually another chance to slip back into more screen time than you’d planned. Encourage your children to do the same.
Change Your Settings
Let’s face it, phones are visually appealing. One way to decrease usage is to change your settings. Consider gray scale or alternative text fonts as a deterrent.
Create Screen Free Moments
To decrease phone usage, talk with your family and come up with an agreement on a time or place to be phone free, such as no phones at the dinner table or during homework.
Leave it Behind
One of the most effective ways to cut phone dependence is to decrease your physical attachment. Whenever possible, leave your phone out of sight and out of mind. You aren’t taking your phone for a walk, after all. This will help you reduce screen time.
Use a Real Alarm Clock
Many of us use our phones as alarm clocks, with customized alarm sounds and automated news readings. Unfortunately, using your phone as an alarm clock puts your phone in your hands first thing in the morning, before you’ve even had your first conscious thought. If you want to cut down on phone time, a good place to start is in the morning. Use an old-school alarm clock and set your phone to charge in another room.
Make Yourself Aware
A surprisingly easy way to cut down on phone usage is to be aware of every time you use your phone. Pay attention to why you pick it up and remind yourself to put it down.
Celebrate Your Progress
When you’ve found you’ve decreased your phone usage, celebrate! Reward your own good behavior and encourage it with your family. If you see good behavior, comment on it. If phone addiction is severe in your family, create a prize for cutting back.
Now put these tips to good use–turn off your phone and reduce screen time!