Practice what you preach
If you incessantly check email over dinner or answer texts during family outings, you may be contributing to your child’s overuse behavior (check these silent signs that you may have a cell phone addiction). “If you want your kids to get off of their phones, you need to get off of yours,” says social psychologist and parenting expert Susan Newman, PhD. Newman urges parents to remember that they are role models. It may not look like it, but kids are watching and learning from their parents all the time. Try having the entire family leave their phones turned off or at least put away during time spent together. And always switch off your ringer during events that are important to your child, such as school plays and sports games.
Set common sense limits
Teens are pretty universally tech-obsessed, but that doesn’t mean you have zero say in the matter. “It’s a parent’s job to establish limits for the safe use of technology, so their kids can learn how to use communication devices in a healthy way,” says Jamison Monroe, founder and CEO of Newport Academy, a mental health treatment program for teens. “You own your child’s phone. It’s your property. As a parent, you’re in charge of setting common sense limits on its use, just like you do around driving, drugs, and alcohol.” What’s more, In this era of cyberbullying and online stalking, this is a safety issue for many teens, he adds. According to the New York Times, screen addiction is a serious condition, which may lead some kids to view the cyber world as real, and the real world as fake. This behavior may be intensified if parents allow double-digit hours of screen time, especially when kids are young.