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Kids and Smartphones… Be a Good Role Model

You are your child’s most Important Role Model

If you read the first post in this series Smartphone or Dumb Distraction, you are already aware that FamPlan believes that without their parents’ guidance, kids are just as likely to have negative experiences with their digital devices as they are to have positive experiences.  And depending on the age and maturity of the child in question, the outcomes of these negative experiences can have significant and lingering consequences.  Don’t worry.  We have a Plan!

FamPlan provides strategies and actions parents can take to give their children a head-start at maintaining a healthy relationship with their digital devices, reaping the rewards we have all been promised, and hopefully, avoiding the dire outcomes so many of us fear.  And, we organize these strategies into four, easy to learn categories.  Model – Delay – Manage – Connect

Best Practices to Model with Smartphones

Success is a well studied discipline.  Whether we’re discussing the best approach school or work, how we interact with friends and family, or best practices for how to use our smartphones, following the same strategies as positive role models often leads to success.  And when we are talking about our children, the most important role models most kids will ever have are their parents.

Apologies if you feel you have been tricked.  But Yes, this post is about how you should be using our technology…  And No, parents are not always the best role models.  However, we owe to our kids to be the best role models we can be.

“The surest way to achieve success is to model someone who is already successful.”  Anthony Robbins

The following list was generated by a group of teens and preteens in my living room.  This list took less than two minutes for them to create.  And they not only implied, but they outright stated that their parents (yes, I am one of said parents) were providing these bad examples.

  1. Put away the phone during conversation.  Don’t just turn of the sounds.  Place the phone in airplane mode and leave it somewhere you cannot see it.  It is amazing how codependent we have become with these little devices.  Remember… there is no relationship more important than that of parent and child.  Treat it as such.
  2. No phones while driving.  Yes, the public service reminders tell us not to text and drive.  But, this goes for almost every function the phone provides.  If you need to check maps or other travel-specific information while in the car, find a place to stop.  And 9 times out of 10, calls can wait.  Here’s a Parenting tip… if Mom calls while you are driving the children, ask the children to answer the phone.
  3. No videos, alarms, or ringers in public.  Noise pollution!  Please be considerate of others.
  4. No phones at the Dinner table.  Once again, relationships make the world go round.  And for your family, there is no better opportunity to share experiences, thoughts and dreams than at the family meal.  Pro-Dad tip… Make time for Family Dinner and ditch the phones.
  5. No screens before bedtime.  This advice supports both physical health and mental health.  The “blue light” emitted by smartphones is interpreted by our brains as daylight.  As such, it stimulates your brain at the very time when you want to be winding down.  And form a psychological standpoint, searching for that one last affirmation in the social media haystack is far more likely to lead to anxiety that it is to lead to contentment.

This list is by no means scientific or exhaustive.  It is based on a variety of sources and readings, and as stated earlier, the observations of a group of kids.

The most important concept to remember from this post is that your children watch you… they learn from you… they want to be like you.  Be mindful of what you are teaching them.

Check out the second FamPlan strategy for Kids and Smartphones, Our Kids. To Smartphone? Or, not to Smartphone?

And as always, #DoMoreHappy