Parents of children with ADHD know that it is not true that a child with ADHD is unable to focus. Children with ADHD can concentrate intensely on technology that fascinates them, such as social media, surfing the internet, texting, or mobile phone games.
Some children can become intensely fascinated by a game or an app but would later become tired of it and move on to something else. However, children with ADHD are in greater danger of becoming cognitively and behaviorally dependent on their mobile devices.
What Are The Warning Signs
“People who talk about tech addictions often express frustration with their smartphone use, or they can’t understand why kids game so much.” Christopher J. Ferguson Ph.D. in clinical psychology said. Children who have become overly dependent on their mobile devices would use their cell phones even if there is no good reason to do so. And when they are not using their cell phones, they would be thinking about it. They would even ask for it.
“Parents also face unique challenges in restraining their kids’ usage and rehabilitating their habits and relationships with technology, due to the highly personal and addictive nature of smartphones, as well as the positive aspects of technology.” Jyothsna Bhat, PsyD said. Children often argue with their parents regarding the amount of time they spend on their cell phones. Whenever they hear their mobile phone’s alert tone, they would immediately interrupt what they are doing to check their cell phones. They are often unaware of the large amount of time that they spend on their mobile devices.
They tend to become agitated or distressed whenever their cell phone is turned off or when their cell phone is out of their reach. And they cannot decrease the amount of time that they spend on their mobile phones.
What You Can Do
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents start teaching their children the appropriate use of cell phones when they are very young. Children who are aged two and below should be discouraged from using mobile phones. For older children, the Academy recommends that parents supervise their children’s cell phone usage.
They should limit the time their children spend on their mobile phones. And they should check what content their children are accessing. They should not allow cell phones inside their children’s bedroom to make sure that their sleeping habits are healthy. “limit screen time for younger teens; show interest in them, their ideas, opinions, dreams; engage teens in conversations about choices, relationships, and future plans; and provide opportunities for them to explore their own point of view through conversation without judgment.” Sandi Lindgren PCC, LICSW added.
Parents should lead by example. They should follow the rules that they expect their children to follow. It is a good idea to specify areas of the home where cell phone use is not allowed, such as the living room or the kitchen or the bedroom. Or parents can specify certain times when cell phone use is not permitted, such as during meals or bedtime.
These restrictions will allow everyone to gain more control over their mobile phone use. And since family members are not distracted by their cell phones when they are together (such as during meals), they are encouraged to talk to one another, and this improves the family’s relationship.
Parents should provide alternatives to using mobile devices. Instead of spending hours using their mobile phones, children could spend a few hours at a pool, or a museum or a park.
As they grow older, your children will rely more and more on their mobile devices and similar technology. The goal is not to completely abstain from using mobile devices. Proper use of technology is essential to your children’s education and, eventually, to their career.
The goal is to teach your children to use their mobile phones wisely and to be able to control the amount of time that they spend on their mobile phones. Their mobile devices will benefit them if they learn to use them properly.
If setting rules on cell phone use does not work, parents can ask for help from a mental health professional. They can start by seeking advice from online counselling platforms like BetterHelp. Talking to a professional provides many benefits that parents can utilize. These experts can give behavioral and cognitive interventions for their children. These interventions are designed to treat their children’s dependence on mobile devices.
If you are uncertain how to deal with your child’s dependence on their mobile phone, you can start by talking with them openly and honestly. Just remember to be patient with them as you find ways to teach them how to use their mobile phones wisely.