Managing Smartphones for Teens – Part One

According to 2015 statistics, tweens are spending about six hours a day on “entertainment media”, and teens are spending nine hours a day.  Much of this is probably on a smartphone, (according to this page,  88 percent of children ages 12-17 have mobile phones and 84 percent of that is smartphone usage ). Children with cell phones are still children, and for teens since the dopamine reward system of the brain is far outpacing the part of the brain that controls impulses, it is no surprise that a 2016 CNN report from a Common Sense Media poll found 50 percent of tweens and teens feel addicted to their cell phones.

Many parents have shared with me that one of the harder parts of parenting teens is managing smartphone usage.  This is important to talk about because all the selfies or commenting on controversial posts or even posting a lot about religious or political views on social media will follow your teen forever; it is a responsibility to have a smartphone as opposed to a simple phone that calls/texts.  Employers and colleges look for on-line footprints of individuals they are interested in, and yet many parents feel clueless as to what their child is doing online.   So parents have asked me about managing smartphones.   What should common parameters be?  Here are some ideas; take what works for your family. This post is geared toward those of you with children ages 12 and up.   Continue reading