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Constructive Ways To Break Your Child’s Smartphone Addiction And Encourage Healthier Activities Over The Summer

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There comes a moment in a child’s life when almost any parent begins to worry whether their toddler is spending too many hours in front of their phones. Studies find that kids spend more time on these devices, using social media like never before. This is all the more worrying as not every piece of information they gain exposure to is child-friendly, nor are the notions found explained to them in a way to dispel misunderstandings.

The problem of limitless smartphone usage in children becomes more pressing and common in families in each category, calling for practical actions and creative ideas to eliminate children’s gadget addiction. 

We are in the entire summer, a season encouraging engagement in outdoor, fun, recreative activities for children in places like the local parks, swimming pools, camps in Queens, or tennis courts. However, it can be challenging for parents because children lack school activities, and caregivers may be tempted to hand them over the gadget to keep them busy.

So, should your child spend less time on a smartphone and more time connected to the real world? Do you find it challenging to come up with a solution?

So, should your child spend less time on a smartphone and more time connected to the real world Do you find it challenging to come up with a solution

Red flags that signal smartphone addiction in children

45% of teens in the United States say they are online almost all the time, while only 5% of adolescents in the States lack access to smartphones. Today’s kids are the teenagers of tomorrow, and the activities they are encouraged to take on now are those defying their behaviors sooner or later. Phone addiction takes different forms in teenagers; it all comes down to how parents handle it. Most of the time, the child may show and experience the following situations:

  • Turning from a program or device to another relentlessly, like gaming or social networking
  • Showing exaggerated reactions when the phone is taken away from them
  • Restlessness, impatience, inability to focus without a phone
  • Seeking to spend as much time as possible on their phone
  • Difficulties with emotional regulation
  • Staying glued to their phones.

Losing interest in the smartphone starts with finding enjoyment in another activity  

One of the most influential and rewarding methods to make a smartphone appear less appealing to a child is to find other activities and occupations that would keep them busy and entertained. This is, indeed, easier said than done, especially when parents have a busy schedule with little time left to interact with their children. However, they shouldn’t sit and wait for the summer to be over so that kids can return to school. As in-depth research from the Brookings Institution shows, “summer learning loss” is actual and impacts children of all ages. Finding them educative, fun, and creative activities that keep their minds sharp and their social skills improving keeps children on track and offsets the summer slide’s impact. By enrolling children in Brooklyn day camps, they will engage in activities ranging from swimming to coding sessions, creating friendships and broadening their knowledge in the areas they like.

Engage them in sports

Every athlete can admit that sports are addicting and difficult to opt out of, being one of the most effective ways to maintain mental and physical health. Physical activity is even more critical in children, especially those who spend a lot of time on their online devices. Everything exceeding one hour of smartphone usage per day for children aged two to five should raise concerns and be addressed accordingly. For children between five to seventeen years old, up to two hours a day when homework isn’t considered shouldn’t be concerning.

When these time limits are met, you know it’s time to intervene and find alternatives to keep kids engaged. Sports may lessen their desire to be constantly on their phone, as exercise will trigger the following in them:

  • Stimulate brain chemicals that improve their well-being so they find enthusiasm in something other than the smartphone. Increases serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline levels, improving the brain’s function and health.
  • Boosts self-esteem and helps with introversion and shyness, often problems in children hidden behind smartphone dependency. Better self-esteem is linked with exercise as it helps the body release endorphins, the chemicals responsible for bringing a positive outlook on life and increasing energy levels.
  • Teach children how to manage and channel their negative emotions, helping them cope with challenging aspects of life.

Sometimes, when the child isn’t responsive, or the whole process seems over the parents’ heads, some specialized help may help them overcome their addiction.

Set a positive example

Encouraging healthier activities, whether it’s the summer or winter, starts with the example children receive at home. If parents are constantly scrolling on their devices, limiting the time spent by toddlers may trigger an opposite reaction, as it may be perceived as unfair treatment and favoritism.

Therefore, ensure you set rules that the family respects and sticks to. You may also limit your smartphone time by using a timer and only giving screen permission for a few well-established activities.

Parents set an example, so if you need to use the smartphone a lot, make sure the children are explained how essential it is to take incoming calls.

Summing up

Smartphones can be resourceful tools given their myriad possibilities to expand knowledge in all domains, strengthen or create connections, and enrich pastimes. However, their usage should be regulated, as children can quickly develop adoption instinct, making it challenging to work with once it’s settled in. If you deem your children abusing their gadgets, take advantage of the few spare moments in the summer to visit someplace new with them and encourage them to discover a new hobby or any other family-suited activity that might spark their interest. Children’s addiction can be overcome more efficiently in its developmental stages than when it’s ultimately settled in, so don’t lose time and take the matter into your own hands.

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