By Linda Wood Rondeau
When I recently visited a young relative’s home, three children and two adults sat in the living room with the television on and everyone using their own phones. No one talked with one another. I wondered if anyone paid attention to the television at all since they were busy texting, snapping and sending.
Children seem to have an insatiable desire for technology these days. Cell phones have become the new computer—instantly accessible. Funny they are still called phones because no one seems to really “call” anyone, especially the younger generation. They either send a social media message or text. Social media sites lure users to spend hours of mindless activity, or what seems mindless to other generations.
Nowadays, to take away a child’s cell phone seems to be the worst kind of “grounding” a child can receive.
So how does a parent encourage appropriate use of this device? As in all aspects of parenting, modeling the behavior is still the most powerful teaching tool in the parent’s arsenal. Children live what they see—no matter how much you preach for them to do otherwise.
Here are few things you can do to help shape your child’s phone behavior:
- If you feel your child’s time on devices should be limited, limit your time as well. Let your children see you enjoying activities without your smartphone as a constant companion.
- Do not use your device while driving unless you have a voice activated or hands-free phone. Pull off the road if you receive a text or call while driving. Explain to your child why you are doing so.
- When someone is speaking to you, put your phone down. Do not try to multi-task your human interactions with electronics. Humans are the ones who will suffer.
- These days, smartphones are like an appendage. But we can still insist on etiquette where phone use is concerned. The GOLDEN RULE applies to our phone use as it does in every area of life.
- When in public, use your device only if in an emergency. Stop when you need to use the device. Don’t walk and talk, especially in a crowded situation like a store or crossing the road. Of course, everyone has a different definition of emergency. But let common sense prevail. Ask yourself if your life will significantly change if you do not use your device at this instant.
- Your immediate need to respond sends a subliminal message to your companion that what they say is not as important as whoever just texted you. If you must use your phone, offer a polite explanation to those around you. Find a quiet corner to converse.
Culture is what it is, and each social group has its own ideas of etiquette. Help your children to be observant of those around them and to adapt, putting others needs ahead of their own.
About Linda Wood Rondeau
Award-winning author, Linda Wood Rondeau writes to demonstrate our worst past, surrendered to God becomes our best future. A veteran social worker, Linda now resides in Hagerstown, Md. Her most recent novel is The Fifteenth Article. Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com. Contact the author on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and Goodreads.