An average teenager uses their smartphone for about 7 hours and 22 minutes daily. When one considers VR headsets, smartwatches, and gaming consoles into the mix, several minutes are added to that figure. Gadget addiction in children is a problem that parents everywhere are desperately trying to resolve. There are certain strategies that can bear fruit in that regard. Some effective ways to keep kids away from phones, video games, and other gadgets are:
Helping children find outdoor buddies
A lack of friends can result in children finding refuge in video games and smartphones. Children generally love making new friends their age. While they may be shy and refuse to engage in conversations at first, playing with friends or simply spending time with them is more rewarding than just leveling up endlessly in a video game.
Parents can initiate such friendships by introducing their children to other kids in their neighborhood. They can also set up fun little activities in the neighborhood to get all the kids in a locality to mingle and befriend one another.
Doing regular digital detoxing
Families with kids who are constantly glued to screens need to indulge in occasional digital detoxing. Parents need to set a side one or two days a week where none of the family members will have access to any screen time. Doing so on Saturdays and Sundays ensures that the parents’ professional life is not affected either.
Children tend to appreciate their elders leading them by example. So, if a kid sees his or her parents spending the entire weekend reading a book, exercising, or engaging in household activities, they may do so too.
Making a strict gadget schedule
This list is not about eliminating gadgets completely from kids’ lives. Instead, it is about inculcating a sense of self-control, mindfulness, and responsibility in them. Making a tight schedule for smartphone or video game usage is the best way to do so. Parents can make a daily schedule for their children in which 2 to 3 hours are dedicated to gadget usage.
In this way, children will not only spend their time more systematically, but the dopamine rush will be earned when they finally unlock their smartphone after a day spent doing actually fruitful things.
Keeping devices under password protection
This is an extension of the previous point. Parents can ensure that their kids fall in line with their schedule by locking all electronic devices with child locks and passwords. While this may seem like a somewhat heavy-handed move, it can address the problem of severe smartphone addiction in kids.
When they grow older, kids will appreciate the time and effort their parents put into getting them off their video games and VR headsets, and into their studies or homely activities.
Sending kids to participate in art and craft exhibitions
Unlocking a child’s creative side is perhaps the greatest gift a parent can give their kids. Most kids may not know how artistic they are and how much they love creating paintings, origami, or sculptures until they participate in local or school-level art and craft competitions and exhibitions.
Apart from these, communicating with children in a face-to-face manner also helps them express their emotions and feelings better.