8 Reasons Why It’s Best to Limit Phone Use for Teens
Most people who are now parents of teens grew up in a time when no one had personal devices. While a family might have a personal computer, just about no one had a cellphone that they could carry around. And no one had one that could be used to access the internet at any time of the day or night. This is the first generation of parents that have to decide when their children should be given cellphones and how much time teens should be allowed to use those phones. And many parents might see no reason to limit phone use for teens. Here are eight reasons why it is best to limit phone use for teens.
1. Internet addiction is real.
Especially for young teenagers who naturally want to withdraw from their parents and may find that the internet is a good escape. The more they use it, the more they find that they want to use it. When it begins to interfere with the rest of their life, making it difficult to get schoolwork done, to interact with their family, and even to interact with their friends in real life, it may bridge from being a simple tool or a source of entertainment and become an addiction, one that can have very real consequences on their lives. Limiting phone use a good way to help prevent internet use from becoming internet addiction.
2. Phone use often interferes with family time.
It is very easy to withdraw from your family when you can pull out your phone and talk to your friends (or even strangers). If you often seen your teen playing on their phone instead of interacting with the family during dinner, while watching a movie, or playing games, it’s time to start thinking about limiting their phone use. Not establishing these rules early on can make it harder to enforce them later, and not encouraging your child to fully engage with the family might eventually create a divide between you and that teen that is difficult to cross.
3. They should talk to their friends in real life, too.
Nothing is more frustrating than walking into a room where your teen and his friends and hanging out and seeing them all silently staring at their phones. If your teen becomes too reliant on his phone, he will never develop the ability to relate to people without the barrier of technology. This can become a serious debilitation in the future. Encouraging him and his friends to put away their cellphones and actually talk to one another will help them build those necessary social skills and is more likely to bond them together as a group.
4. Phone use can distract from school work.
It is extremely easy to be distracted from school work, especially when your phone vibrates every minute to let you know you have a text message, snapchat, tweet, etc. Limiting their use of their phone, especially when they are supposed to be doing homework or studying means that they will actually be able to focus on that homework. Unless they are legitimately doing homework on their phone, it is a much better idea to have them put it away when they are working on school work.
5. The internet provides an opportunity for them to do or see things they would never do or see in the real world.
The internet has very little regulations. The ability to access the internet on their phones means that they could be doing and seeing things that you do not want them to do or see, and because it is on their cellphone, which is much more difficult to monitor than, say, activity on the family computer, means that you might not be able to protect them from this, unless you actually take the time to limit their phone usage. The less time they spend on their phone, the fewer opportunities they have to explore areas of the internet you’d prefer they steered clear of.
6. Phones give people unlimited access to your child.
If you do not limit phone use for teens, the people that they interact with using that phone will have unlimited access to your child. This could include people that you would rather had no access to your child at all. In addition to teaching your teen the dangers of child predators (and the fact that anyone can pretend to be anyone online), limiting their use of their phone means limiting the ability of people to find and contact your child that could potentially harm your child.
7. Encourages conversation.
When your child cannot retreat into their phone, they are more likely to open up to you and to answer your questions. If they feel like they can always whip out their phone and text their friends about what is going on, they will have absolutely no reason to come to you with their concerns. However, by limiting their access to their phones, teens will usually become more likely to talk to you about their needs or concerns, instead of only reaching out to people outside of the family.
8. Limiting phone usage enforces your authority.
You might not think it is that important for your teen to see you as an authority in your home, but it is. Teens who do not feel like there are consequences for their actions will often act out and try riskier and riskier behaviors in order to get their parents’ attention. Setting a limit phone use for teens, laying very concrete ground rules, and making sure they are followed, is a relatively easy way to enforce your role as the rule maker.