Phone addiction and the parent’s example


Phones and video games should not be demonized. There is a lot of negative talk about these tools (gadgets) and this, unfortunately, will make some people either deny reality or abuse it.


In the pandemic times we live in, the home has become for many parents, the office and for the children, the school.


What happens when adults use technology frequently in the personal space and what do children need to know about communication technology?


First of all, parents need to establish, through discussion with their children, their notions about the limits and purposes of using these communication tools. Thus, it is good to understand that the parent is using the phone/computer to fulfill work/tasks.


Many parents, while trying to impose limits on their children, regarding the use of the phone, set the wrong personal example, being themselves “victims” of these gadgets. Of course, they are part of our lives, and if we decide to use them frequently, it is essential to take the impact of this behavior on board.


A reflection for parents could be the following example:


Think that you have a very good friend and you choose to invite him/her, daily, into your home. The time you spend with him is dedicated to him alone.


What is going on around you?


Other family members will feel, on a relational level, unimportant outsiders. Soon there will be agitation, restlessness, anxiety, frustration or even anger. This will lead to isolation and sadness for some or open conflict for others. That is why it is good for parents to understand that they are emotional mirrors and, as such, to choose wisely and constantly inform themselves about what they are doing and how they should behave.


From another point of view, children cannot prove the long-term consequences of a behavior. They realize that it is not good to use the telephone for a long time, but in their experience, they have nothing to compare it to.


A responsible adult and I insist on RESPONSIBLE, realizes when they consume too much alcohol, for example. If a glass of wine is too much, he can stop, and precisely because he is aware of the consequences.


So, what do I recommend is:


– Set or negotiate with your child a specific time for using the phone. Don’t be afraid that you might lose in front of him. By behaving in this way, he learns to decide for himself and to set limits within himself.
– Be realistic and acknowledge that you need also precious time with your children, to show that everyday life can be lived differently.


– Be transparent about the time you spend on your phone, especially for young children. It’s good to be curious by often asking about things seen or even learned on the phone.


Even if you have space to use the computer at the desk, you can try to keep it, for a while, in the living room, just to make room for other kinds of interaction and to avoid “forgetting” the child in a virtual space.


In the case of teenagers, as an alternative to time spent on gadgets, you can propose humanitarian actions, sports or fun activities. Teenagers, on the other hand, need time alone with the door closed, in their room.


Even so, it’s important to remember: “The rule is we’re only on the phone for 30 minutes”.


A long time spent in the virtual environment also leads to addiction to the feeling of playing games, if it is online games. The rhythm of the images, the bright colors, stimulate certain areas of the brain, where addictions lie hidden. In addition, the surplus of information, in a short time and repeatedly, produces neurosis.


Sursă foto:
Valentina Şimon, psiholog sistemic pentru cuplu şi familie