Addicted to the phone

Dear Aunty Lisa

My daughter who is two years old is addicted to my smart phone. I am getting so worried about how upset she gets if I take it away from her or say no to her. She cries like she has been beaten by an aunt and it is so annoying. I am worried she is slowly becoming a zombie with that phone. She doesn’t socialise with other kids her age and misses out on learning how to talk as she is buried in the phone. What do I do to wean her off the gadget? – Mai Pinky

Dear Mai Pinky

Sad to say this type of behaviour is becoming typical of kids of today and you are right to be worried about it. The trouble is that it is the parents who at one time introduced their kids to the gadgets as a way of keeping them quiet.

Children can be noisy and distractive at times and a mother or father knows giving them a phone keeps them quiet and busy. And of course the kids are not that dumb, they realise how much fun it is and they don’t want to let go.

Giving kids gadgets is a classic way of keeping them quiet that always works. But it is so important that parents know the limit they must put on ANY screen-time – as research has shown that it can be very bad indeed for a child’s development in many areas.

In this world of technology you don’t want to raise a child who you don’t know because most of the time he/she is engaged with the latest gadgets and hardly has time for you – or other people for that matter.

You need to put your phone away when you around your daughter and even when she sees it, do not give in to her crying for it. You will have to be firm about this. Crying is not a disease anyone will die from; mothers have a weakness of giving in too quickly to their children’s crying.

Their children have come to realise they have a big weapon against their parents in crying and so they would cry for almost anything as a way of asking for it. Say no to her and let her cry, ignore her for a while – then comfort her. But make sure you show her you will not give in to her.

Be creative in distracting her with other forms of play so that she learns that it is possible to have fun without the phone. This will take time and effort on your part but I can assure you that you will not regret it.

You need to teach your child that it is more fun to be creative and imaginative and interact with others on an individual level – rather than with a phone. Good luck! – Aunty Lisa

Post published in: Lifestyle
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