How dependent are you on your phone? An honest look at ourselves and our children’s relationship with this device that’s in our hands longer than you might think.
A psychiatrist tells NBC 7 that we should embrace the benefits of social media and having access to a smartphone, but she’s quick to add we should always try to be in control of our devices and not the other way around.
“I mean immediately, I woke up and grabbed my phone right there,” said a beachgoer at Pacific Beach.
When NBC 7 Responds asked people if they would take their phones to the restroom with them, the majority said yes.
“There is science, a business, an industry that is driving to try to keep us on the phone,” said Dr. Willough Jenkins, a psychiatrist at Rady Children’s Hospital who admits she’s not immune to getting hooked on her phone.
According to a survey by Reviews.org:
- 89% of Americans check their phones within 10 minutes of waking up
- 60% sleep with their phone at night
- 75% use it while in the restroom
- 75% feel uneasy leaving their phone at home
- 47% feel a sense of panic or anxiety when running low on battery
The survey also shows younger people have a harder time with losing their phone, a cause for worry for many parents.
Dr. Jenkins makes it clear this is not only due to smartphones but the more they’re stuck to them, the more they’re missing out on experiences that could strengthen their mental health.
Here are some tips that could help according to Dr. Jenkins:
- Try to keep kids younger than 12 away from smartphones
- Those younger than 14 away from social media
- Set an example – no way around this one. You can’t expect your kids to do something you’re not doing
- Co-viewing and parental privacy tools might help set the tone with younger children
- Don’t be too hard on yourself or them. Smartphones are here to stay, so take time to know their role in your family
“Ask your children what they like about it and what they don’t like about it, and try to have an open and non-judgmental conversation because of course there are the positives of social media as there are the downsides,” said Dr. Jenkins.
This way your children have a better shot at growing up with the benefits of technology instead of the drawbacks.
Dr. Jenkins adds that her biggest thing is to not allow children to have access to a phone when it’s bedtime. If it affects their sleep it could cause them to struggle in school and overall mental health.