My kid seems addicted to her phone. What do I do?

It may seem like your kid is addicted (and may even "feel" addicted) to the phone, but it's more likely normal teen behavior. Teens check their devices frequently and feel pressure to respond to quickly to messages. And their friends tend to take priority over everything else.

In fact, doctors don't agree whether people can become addicted to technology. And if technology addiction exists, it's very rare. Hopefully, you're only dealing with a compulsive habit that you can manage by structuring your kids' time. Schedule time for the phone to be off, schedule activities during which the cell phone can't be used, and look into programs that block the phone from being used. If you suspect the problem is true addiction, talk to your pediatrician.

Consider how much time you spend looking at your phone, too. Make sure you're setting a good example at home by moderating your own technology use. And it's always a good idea to invite your child to do something together that doesn't involve screens.

The Child Mind Institute contributed to this article. Learn more at childmind.org.

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Comments

Kid, 12 years old

Maybe you should take away your child's phone on school days so they are forced to pay more attention to their schoolwork. My friend LOVES her phone and her parents take away her phone during the school week
Teen, 13 years old written by cc8

Kids can and often are addicted to their phones (at least that's my opinion). A good way to try to avoid this is setting limits on the amount of time your teen spends on their phone. That's what I do for myself.
Adult written by beniceorbequiet

We have strived to be very mindful, well-balanced and supportive parents for both of our late-teen daughters including monitoring their phone usage and limiting phone privileges altogether when necessary. Yet Snapchat still seems to be winning the battle; our daughters' behavior turns noticeably negative whenever Snapchat is not within their reach. Did anyone see the 60 Minutes piece on Brain Hacking? There MUST be something to all this yet a Google search for every combination of “snapchat cortisol anxiety depression bad dopamine” yields no usable results. Is anyone else suspicious their teens are becoming actually addicted to these SM apps and that parents need more help in addressing the problem? commonsensemedia.org seems to be very expansive, is there a better place to post these questions/comments?
Parent of a 12 year old written by HGolightly

You are not imagining it. Read the Jean Twenge article and the Iphone Generation book. It's everywhere now that some research has been done.
Parent written by Tim F.

Poppycock, the damages are real. suicides are up, empathy is down, the list is too long to even begin. Of course addiction is real. China calls video game addiction the number one health crisis. There are several treatment centers here in the US. I'm not anti-tech sadly this is the world the kids find themselves in. read the cyber effect by Mary Aiken.
Teen, 13 years old written by Websitestalker123

Cellphone usage at the teen years is normal, but at times harmful. I abhor long periods of times with devices since they can strain your neck, and emit harmful radiations. I suggest 1-4 hours a day at least 13+
Teen, 13 years old written by cornbeef

We Millennials were born in the time when touch sensitive phones were being sold and when the internet was becoming a money maker and a source of income for many people. Lets get something straight: technology like such we have today was made to aid us and make our lives a little more hassle free, not destroy our brains and damage our eyes. Unlike your generation when you were a child, we have technology so advanced and available. You give your child a mobile phone which can surf the internet for millions of blogs and articles, youtube which has 300 hours of content uploaded to the website everyday- a site were people are making millions and becoming the new age celebrities, access to Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and whatever the hell has made it so popular to the millions who use it every hour. Yet you complain when him or her go on it constantly, like every other young adult and teen.
Adult written by enysca r.

my daughter is alwase on her phone and on her computer i would take them away for a day but if do she will scream at me what do i do
Parent of a 12 year old written by HGolightly

You are the parent. Don't let your child scare you. Iphones are like handing crack to children.
Teen, 16 years old written by NewAgePerspective

The only way to get that kind of obedience is through pre-made respect or forging terror when it comes to the phone. I've seen an effective use of terror used when this African-American family made a video of the dad running over the boy's Xbox with a truck because his grades we're terrible. You think that boy felt happy? He was mortified. putting it on YouTube made him feel shame. He will never do that again because the embarrassment was so bad. plus if you enable advertisements on the google account you can earn the money back if it skyrockets in views. it's a win-win. Art's and craft's is a dying pass-time. kid's have a sixth sense about phones. when you take it away they can feel evil intentions in the air. just show the girl the video mentioned above, tell her that you will do that to her phone if she doesn't obey, and tadah. The key is keeping your word (or else the words in the future have no power over the child). and if you going to make the video, please, high quality camera and put the link on this website. worked on me.
Teen, 14 years old written by teen.14 years old.

In my opinion, screaming is an extreme overreaction but the answer really isn't taking devices away. Instead, you might want to try getting My circle (a disney product) that helps you limit screen use, Plus, just taking away a device and not giving the child anything else to do, isn't the answer.
Kid, 9 years old

well if your kids addicted to her phone, take it for a while ( a week or so ) and do something fun with her instead that you can both enjoy such as arts and crafts, pancake art, going to the park, etc.
Kid, 12 years old

Take your kid out somewhere to do something fun like go to the movies with family, or the arcade with family. Take them to do something that they want to do with the family every once in a while. Feel free to take away phone privileges and get them to play outside with friends!