Get rid of saying "put your phone away" once and for all.

Get Rid of Saying "Put Your Phone Away" Once and For All: How to set Boundaries for your preteen's phone usage


Why do we need to set boundaries for internet use and teens?

It is SO COMMON for a teenager to absolutely lose themselves when their phone is taken away from them. Parents tell me that their child 
  • cries,
  • screams,
  • pushes,
  • breaks things,
  • completely shuts down, etc.
Our generation of teenagers are dependent on their phones for their 
  • social status,
  • entertainment and
  • self soothing.
When life gets hard, boring or confusing, they go to their device. If they have been dependent for a while, it is unlikely that they have developed any other coping skills.

Does my teen have a panic attack when I take their phone away?

Have a frank conversation (name it to tame it!) about anxiety attacks and phone addiction. If your teenager 
  • totally loses their bubbly personality when you don’t have wifi and
  • cannot cope with being device-less then you should address the issue! 
Work together on building their tolerance of being without. 

How can I enforce the technology boundaries? 

There's an app for that! There are actually several different apps that you can find on the App store that can help. See how easy it is to find accountability for yourself and your family’s phone usage. 
There are systems that can track all the devices and turn the internet on and off at certain times. There are systems that make the apps on their phone disappear after a certain time. There is going to be strong temptation to look places they are not supposed to look. There are apps and filters that can notify you when your teenager may be looking at inappropriate websites. Covenant Eyes and NetNanny. Circle is another app that is able to check, disable and track all the devices on the router
There are many apps and they are worth looking into and trying. 
Be warned! There are many ways around these systems and the teenagers talk. The saying, "prevention over intervention" is crucial here. So the best way to set boundaries is to limit it all from the beginning. Tell all your friends whose children are not yet tweens to start with good technology boundaries now. Once freedom is granted it is HARD to reign in. 

How to introduce freedom for your teenager with their phone

Grow together in responsibly using technology! 
The key is to relinquish freedom as your teen becomes responsible. Recognize that once you allow certain freedoms it is near impossible to back track. Keeping teens busy can be helpful to limit their technology addictions. Exercise, sleep and a healthy diet will improve their mood and reduce the desire to scroll to self soothe. 
Nothing will replace 
  • living by example in your relationship with technology.
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