Phones have become so ubiquitous that a new term, “nomophobia,” has been coined to describe the fear of being without your smartphone.
Nomophobia, or “no mobile phobia,” is a growing problem.
Almost 90% of young people have stated they are never without their phone, while 80% of smartphone users check their phone within 15 minutes of waking [* https://www.economist.com/leaders/2015/02/26/planet-of-the-phones].
Your teenager might have nomophobia if they:
- Feel stressed when they don’t have their phone.
- Frequently check their phone while doing schoolwork, working on an assignment, or while driving.
- Check the phone even though they should be doing something more productive.
- Use their phone during mealtimes.
- No interest in other activities
Regardless of how deep the addiction goes, you can help break the hold your teenager’s phone has over them.
1. Don’t Be A Hypocrite
A parent who doesn’t live up to the same standards as they expect from their teenager can lose respect and authority.
If you want your teenager to stop spending so much time with mobile devices, you should set a good example.
2. Create Boundaries
Saying to your teenager that they should use their phones less doesn’t provide clear guidance.
You will need to enforce it by setting boundaries. For example, set clear guidelines like:
- No phones, computers, or tablets in the bedrooms (this is also healthy for parents).
- Phones stay in pockets or face down on the table during personal conversations.
- No phones are allowed at family functions or social events.
- No phones during bathroom breaks.
- No phones at the dinner table.
- Phones are put away during study time.
3. Family Time and Encourage Other Interests
The social aspects of family life have suffered dramatically due to smartphones and mobile devices invading the home.
- Get back to having family nights.
- Play a board game or go out somewhere fun for the day as a group or take everyone out on a camping trip.
- Even a cinema trip can help a tech-addicted teen realize there is more to life than a tiny screen.
- Suggest other activities like drawing and art.
- Encourage your teen to join a sporting team or learn a musical instrument.
- A sporting club will get them out of the house and moving, and learning a musical instrument will require regular practice, which should help reduce their screen time.
4. Everybody Follows the Same Rules
Everybody needs to abide by the same rules, teens, and adults alike. Young children should also have to comply.
A teenager won’t see it as fair if their little brother gets to watch Netflix on the tablet while they aren’t allowed to use their phone or computer.
5. Have Family Tech Detox Time
Certain times of the day can be designated family tech-free time. Carve out a time of day where everyone can agree not to use devices. If kids cannot check their phones every minute, you can bet they will start looking at what else they can do to occupy their time.