This post is brought to you in partnership with Relay. All opinions are our own.
Being a parent is tough. In the era of smartphones and easy access to the Internet, social media, videos and online games, the job can be even more difficult.
As we learn more about the effect of constant stimulation from these devices, it has become more important than ever to ensure that our kids avoid screen addiction. Here are five signs that your child might be a ‘screen addict,’ and some advice on how to fix it with simple steps.
1. They can’t stop talking about their screen activities.
One major warning sign of screen addiction is the inability to avoid discussing screen-related topics when your child is not having screen time. If all of their conversations are about the last YouTube video they watched or game they played, it may be time to start thinking about strategies for limiting screen time.
2. They experience withdrawal-like mood changes.
As with any addiction, screen addiction can lead to withdrawal. This usually takes the form of crankiness or other bad behaviors when your child is not allowed or is unable to access screens.
3. They don’t socialize well.
Screens are not bad in themselves. Social media allows children to connect across cities, states and even countries. But if your child is unable to disconnect from their screen and have a sit-down family dinner or conversation, there may be a bigger issue going on.
4. They steadily increase their screen use.
Another thing in common between screen addiction and other forms of addiction is increased tolerance. You may need to start thinking about limiting screen time if your child starts craving longer and longer amounts of time using screens.
5. They use screens to avoid problems.
We all need a little escapism every now and then. Escapism can be a release from stress, but it shouldn’t be used as a replacement for healthy coping mechanisms or solutions to problems. If your child constantly seeks to escape from bad days by using screens, that may be a sign of screen addiction.
How to help your kids break the screen habit
There are a few ways to alleviate the amount of screen time your child gets every day. Exemplify good screen habits by showing kids how to use technology as a tool to learn, communicate or travel.
It also helps to have joint, family-based entertainment time rather than the child watching screens by themselves. Try to show kids how to use screens in a positive way rather than as a reward for good behavior, as the latter is not recommended by most psychologists. For more tips on creating healthy screen time habits for your child, check out this article.
The creators of Relay developed their product specifically to help kids combat screen addiction. A functional phone alternative with no screen, Relay also features “channels” that allow for chats, translation for easy language learning, music, a voice changer and other channels to be developed in the future.
By using Relay, your child can still connect and communicate with others through a nationwide network complete with GPS capabilities. In other words, it can help you limit the time your child spends with a screen while still allowing many of the positive aspects of a smartphone.
Want to learn more about Relay? Click here for more information.