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Is your kid addicted to their cell phone?

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, trav...

Too much cell phone?

Does your kid just really like her cell phone, or is it something more than that?

teen girl texting

Kids today use cell phones as their main link to the outside world, so it's no surprise they they've grown rather attached to them. Is your kid's attachment to their phone normal, or is more like an addiction?

The best way to prevent cell phone use from getting out of control is to set some ground rules as soon as your child starts using one. Place limits on how long they can talk and how many calls and texts they can have in a day. Also limit the hours they can use their phone — consider making it off limits at bedtime and during school hours.

Is there a problem?

Your child may be nearing a cell phone addiction if it starts to affect other aspects of their life. You may notice that they withdraw from the family, spending all of their time on their cell. You may also notice that they don't communicate face-to-face much, instead choosing to text people that may even be in close proximity.

Do they have their cell phone with them all the time (even in the bathroom and when they sleep)? Do you hear them talking or the phone going off at all hours of the night? Are their grades slipping? Are they losing interest in hobbies? If you answered "yes" to most of these questions, your child may be too dependent on their phone.

What you should do

If you're worried that your child is too dependent on their cell phone, have a talk with them. Explain your worry and the reasons behind it, and try to encourage them to use the phone less.

If that doesn't work, you may need to establish more rules for cell phone use, and be more diligent about enforcing those rules. Consider having a set space to keep the phone at home so it's not always in their hands. You might even think about confiscating it at night so they can't use their phone when they should be sleeping.

Quick Tip

Sill worried? Talk to your child's pediatrician.

More reading

Kids and cell phones: What you need to know
Lessons all teens should know about texting
Warning signs of cell phone misuse

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