Next week my 12 year old daughter is getting her 1st mobile device. On one hand she is developing her independence, she now likes to go off to the beach or mall with friends so it will be peace of mind knowing we can contact her or vice versa. I’ve also found texting with my 14 year old just a nice way to connect, to wish her a good day or to say ‘I’m proud of you’ or ‘You didn’t make your bed (frown face emoji)’. On the downside the ongoing battle in our house (and I know we’re not alone) is too much time on devices. We now have 3 laptops, 1 desktop, 2 iPads and 4 iPhones – so there’s some gadget lying around somewhere most of the time.
The weekends are the worst with ‘I just want to chill’ being the cattle call for staring at a screen. Devices are like shiny objects to magpies, they’re pretty, engaging, fun and hours can be whittled away under the blue hue of a screen. On average a teen will spend up to 6 1/2 hours on their phone which isn’t for making happy head spaces, check out this report from CNN: http://cnn.it/1P8x5oP
Anyway not one to typically tout products, but there’s an app that I’ve been using for over a year now which I think brings a little sanity and a measure of control over this problem. It’s called OurPact http://ourpact.com and it works an absolute treat. It also gives teens certain boundaries and privileges when it comes to their social media and device usage. It doesn’t stop phone calls but turns off all social media when you want them to a) do their homework b) chores c) go to bed d) or enforce some time out. You can also use it like a form of allowance. You can control what apps they get and delete the ones that are inappropriate. Anyway it’s a small measure in an ongoing battle of something that is here to stay.