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Five ways to avoid cell phone abuse by your teen

It is said that the basic necessities of a man are food, clothing and shelter. But nowadays one more necessity has been added and that is a cell phone. Can you imagine your life without your phone? The answer is a quick “No”. 

CA Aniruddha Phene

Earlier phones were just used to make calls but now with the advent of smartphones, phones are used more for other things than making calls. Infact today messaging each other is the smarter option as it saves a lot of energy & time.  It seems as if the businesses are making continuous efforts to keep us hooked to our mobile screens. Who would want to go and pay the electricity bill physically if you can pay it at your fingertips? So many apps are being designed to make our lives easier. 

Life has become simpler but at the same time we have forgotten the true meaning of life. Were we born to just look at our mobile screen the whole day? Obviously not. Today we have become so dependent on machines that the day is not far where machines will rule us as shown in an old Hollywood classic “The Matrix”.  

The cellphone addiction can be seen across generations. Parents today have no right to complain about their kid’s cell phone obsession if they themselves can’t control it. 

Nowadays parents are seen giving their phones to their toddlers just so that they will stay busy or will eat their food. 

The younger generation, especially the teens have been the most affected by smartphone addiction. They are seen wasting the most important years of their lives on their phones. This is the age they can do so many productive things which can shape their future. 

Here are the 5 ways you as a parent can avoid cell phone abuse by your teen: 

1 Lead by example: 

Your kid looks up to you and follows you to a certain extent. If you restrict your own cell phone usage, your kid too will follow your footsteps. You simply can’t expect your kid to reduce his cellphone use, when you yourself are busy with your phone. Show them how you can spend time productively without touching your phone. You can set phone free hours in the house where no one uses their phone. E.g. No phones at dinner time, no phones before bed etc. You can have a nice chat with your family before going to bed. I am sure your kid has lots to tell you. 

2 Encourage them to read: 

Books have huge power to change a person’s life. Join a library yourself and get new books home every week. Encourage your teen to read it. Bring books which will interest them. Get them hooked to reading. It would work wonders if you read them too. Subscribe to a good magazine which interests your kid. Eg a car or a fashion magazine with lots of pictures. If your child is into sports you can subscribe to a sports magazine. Newspaper reading can also be encouraged as it will make children up to date with current affairs. Nowadays children are clueless about the recent happenings around them. Storytelling has faded out over the years. You can read out a short story to your child. Try to make it sound interesting. 

3 Outdoor activities: 

Kids should be playing outdoors. Encourage them to go down to play in the evening. You can enroll them in an activity which interests them like martial arts, dance, skating, rifle shooting etc. You can plan a bike/car ride with your kid on a weekend. Take them close to nature. Join a good trekking group in your area. Cycling is one such activity where a person can have a good time on his own with his cycle, it should be taught at an early age. Encourage your child to meet his friends in person rather than calling them or messaging them. Tell them the importance of exercise as it helps in blood circulation. 

4 Indoor Activities: 

Kids enjoy games and won’t mind a card game with family occasionally. You can set a schedule for indoor games where the whole family sits and plays board games, carrom, antakshari etc. as we did in our childhood. Children should know that life is not only about stressing it out for your career but also about spending some quality time with your loved ones. 

Playing with your kid improves your relationship with him. He will consider you as his friend. And a friend always listens to his friends. Indoor games are a good way of unwinding after a long day’s work. They create a playful atmosphere at home. 

5 Cherish their hobbies 

Every child has some or the other hobby. As a parent you should understand what your child’s hobby is, what his likings are and try to encourage that. If your child loves to paint, encourage that without linking it to his future profession. Let your child do something he loves to do. Hobbies can be a huge stress buster in his future career as well. Kids should be taught to work with their hands. Teach them to build/repair something with their own hands. Teach them how to make food. Let them get their hands dirty in clay or paint. You can teach them a skill. 

Children are fast learners and can learn anything quickly if taught well. Do some activity with them e.g. bake a cake together or repair a bike together. Spend some time with your kid teaching him new skill sets & at the same time having fun together in the process. 

Phones have become an inevitable part of our lives today. They cannot be cut out from our lives but their usage can be restricted with conscious effort on the part of both the parents as well as the kids. Kids should know that excessive use of cellphones is not good for anyone. Restriction in use will be possible if we spend our time doing more productive things. 

Life is more than just peeping into a screen. Each day is precious and we need to spend our time on this planet more wisely. 

Article by – CA Aniruddha Phene


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