How To Handle Our Teens And Smartphones
We Should Lead Away From Addiction
A Common Sense Media poll revealed that 50 percent of teens feel that they are addicted to their mobile devices. Although smartphones and the Internet are not recognized as a public health threat, or addiction, in the United States it is in other nations. Whether or not its recognized by the Health Department or not most parents (66 percent) recognize that they’re teens spend too much time on their smartphones or devices.
As parents and spiritual leaders for our children we need to show and lead them up in holiness. The Bible is pretty clear that addiction is wrong, and really bad for you. At the very root addiction is a tactic of the Enemy to steal, kill and destroy us. When anyone starts spending more time on a smart device they are spending less time doing other things, such as homework, social engagement, and in the life of a Christian it’s probably taking away from quiet time.
Smartphones can also become a portal for other addictions. One that has become a huge issue in the life of many teens has been pornography. A smartphone gives anyone unlimited and unhindered access to anything. On top of that, its access in secret. As parents of teenagers you need to seriously consider adding parental controls to your teen’s smart devices.
SMARTPHONES STEAL FROM OUR TEENS
Common Sense Media also reported that teens are on social media on an average of 3.5 hours a day. Every time I ask students if they have done their quiet time or prayer time I always hear the excuse, “I don’t have time”. Thanks to Common Sense Media I can now conclude that is a lie – not that I am trying to catch anyone in a lie but the reality is our teens are skipping out on so much of life to live in a virtual world.
I am just going to call it how it is and say that smartphones and tablets are stealing from our teens. They are flat out stealing from their ability to enjoy the moment, have meaningful relationships and spiritual growth. There are plenty of distractions our teens are battling everyday and one that we can control is how much time they spend on smart devices.
IT’S SMART TO TAKE THE PHONE
There is nothing wrong with taking the phone away from your teen, whether they are 13 or 18, you have the full right to manage your teen’s time on a cellphone and you should. I am telling you right now this will be hard! The truth is that your teen is your child and you’ve been given that child by God to raise them up and help them make the best decisions. We can all look back and remember we made horrible decisions as young people, so that right there is the basis for our argument.
So here’s how things will play out: you will tell your teen something like I am going to take the phone from 9 p.m. until morning or you can only use it X amount of time and their response will be, “No way, Not Never”. You will then have to assert your power and status as a parent to enforce these rules. Why is this important? Our teens don’t always know what’s best for them (I know I am probably preaching to the choir on this one) so that’s why we need to help them make these decisions. When we set rules and guidelines we help create limits and boundaries for them to live within so that they can succeed. If our teens spend 3.5 hours on smart devices they are wasting time, period. When a limit can be set it allows a teen to choose to spend less time but still doesn’t allow the excess to be too much.
I am not against smartphones. I am just recommending that as parents you be smart in how you manage those phones. They have the power to be incredible tools, but they also have the ability to destroy lives too. Please make sure that recognize the pros and cons and set up an effective solution for your family. Also look out for my next blog that will include a list of great rules for your teen’s smartphone usage.