Family Magazine

Cell Phone Addiction-Lets Work On It As A Family!

By Joanigeltman @joanigeltman
Reading an article today in the New York times, I came across a new app called Moment. Here is the article. really interesting reading.
This app is available in your app store on your phone. It is your own private personal cellphone addiction coach. I just downloaded it today and I am excited for the data to start coming in. This app tracks your daily phone usage, and what apps you spend your most time on. And then, if you are so motivated helps you to set both limits using the app and strategies that require discipline the old fashion way...self motivation!!!
I was thinking that this would be the most amazing app for families to do together. Next family dinner, everybody brings their phone to the table and downloads the app. Now you're all in it together. It's not you telling your teen they spend too much time on their phone, and you've had it!! It's a family affair.....WE ALL SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ON OUR PHONES!! Lets help each other. There is nothing teens like better than a little healthy competition!! Teens are always feeling criticized and judged by the adults in their lives, and often to them, it feels hypocritical! " Yeah, you're always telling me I spend too much time on my phone...what about you!!!" Which of course puts you in the defensive position of saying, "I'm an adult and you don't get to tell me what to do !!"
But when the family takes ownership together for working on this, it de-emphasizes the, you're a child and I want to control you, aspect of it all.
Getting your teen to buy in, might be a bit hard. But again do it all together so no one feels singled out, and let them know downloading this is a condition of having a phone. This is not a parent control, this is an app about self-awareness. Most people including teens, completely underestimate how much time they are spending on their phones and apps. It can be a rude awakening to see in living color that the actual hours you engage with your phone  are wayyyyyy more than you think. Adults and kids alike have magical thinking when it comes to self awareness about phone use. "Oh I'm not on it THAT much!!!" Until you find out that you are, there might not be much motivation to change.I'm guessing that many of you wear fit bits, and have now become more self-aware of walking and moving more. Using an app like this is akin to a fitbit!  Have a regular weekly family check in. How many hours did you use this week, or which app did you spend the most time on. This by the way does not supplant parental controls. This is a way to plant seeds for all of you about mindful phone use. This is a life skill. This is a way to counter denial, yours and your kids about how much actual time you are on your phones. Teaching self awareness skills translate to every area of our lives. It is as important as teaching them their ABC"s!

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