How Parents Can Help Teens Put Down Their Phones
written by Dr. Liz Matheis, posted on Psychology Today
Many of today’s teens spend a lot of time on, with, or near their phones. How many times have you attempted to have a conversation with your child, only to realize that they are only half-listening?
As parents, it can be frustrating, even alarming, to watch our kids being constantly distracted by the notifications that are dinging and popping up on their screens, seemingly making it impossible to focus on any one thing. What’s happening here?
A Failure to Focus
As an executive functioning coach, I find that many of my teen and young adult clients find it difficult to start and finish tasks—often because they are distracted by the notifications that pop up on their phone, or struggle to resist the urge to reach for it when an assignment becomes challenging to complete. In more serious cases, kids struggle not just to start and finish homework but also to take a shower, empty the dishwasher, or do many other tasks that require sustained attention to get through.
These children often have to regroup and try to remember where they left off with an assignment or a task once they are interrupted. As a result, many students and children appear more inattentive, or even unable to focus for longer than a few minutes. Many kids are using their time inefficiently, resulting in a decline in their ability to follow a day’s routine or complete school-related tasks. Oftentimes, this results in later bedtimes and a great deal of fatigue in the morning and throughout the day.