Teaching Good Phone Habits to Kids
Growing up, we were greatly influenced by our parents’ examples, whether positive or negative. Because of this, we know our example influences our children’s choices and we see this when teaching them about the importance of hard work, being honest, or treating others with respect. It’s the same thing for teaching good phone habits. Our example sets the path for our kids’ behavior, so we need to practice what we preach.
Tweens and teens have a strong “hypocrisy meter” and they use it, especially when it comes to cell phones. They keep close tabs on the amount of time we spend on our phones and use that “data” as justification for their own behavior.
As busy parents, we have to be careful with our screen time so we don’t appear like we’re living a double standard. With cell phones, it’s easier than ever to bring all the demands and responsibilities of work, PTA meetings, or church service projects right into our family room. Because of this, it’s important to understand that our kids can’t tell the difference between productivity and playing Candy Crush for hours.
Whether we’re quickly replying to a text or sending an urgent e-mail, our kids don’t necessarily know why we’re using our phones, so it’s a good idea to explain what we’re doing. This will help keep the hypocrisy meter at zero and create an understanding of productive and unproductive ways phones can be used. But even with all our responsibilities, we still need to fight the urge to be on our phones and recognize that the majority of the time, what we think are urgent tasks can actually wait.
If we really want to teach our kids the best practices of using all types of technology, let’s evaluate our habits and make sure we’re setting the right example.
Kids will do what they see.