A common fact nowadays is that technology rules our life. We find tech usage in every aspect of our lives. With the help of the Internet, we can learn, explore, work, invest, communicate, stay informed, updated, and upgraded (literally and figuratively).
We can’t imagine our life without tech. We reach our goals and finish assignments fast and with low costs. Our children depend on tech usage as well.
They learn faster, more productively, and more effectively. But our children focus more on the entertainable usage of tech.
Giving children phones is when real parenting problems kick in. Our children become addictive tech users, especially at night. So is it OK to take away your child’s phone at night? It definitely is, so let’s discuss the details.
The Benefits of Taking Away Your Child’s Phone at Night
Taking away your children’s phones at night will save them from insomnia or sleeping disorder. Blue light emitted from the screens causes sleeping disorders, keeps your child awake, and negatively affects motor and cognitive skills.
Also, taking your children’s phones at night can protect them from inappropriate content, cyberbullies, and other online dangers.
The Negative Effects of Taking Away Your Child’s Phone at Night
When you decide to take away your child’s smartphone, be aware that you will become their worst enemy. They feel disappointed, lose trust in parents and caregivers, begin to lie, hide their smartphones before bedtime, argue, and are frustrated.
These unpleasant emotions create resentment in children’s behavior and affect their social and academic abilities.
Research on Children and Technology Use
When we were children, we fell asleep with bedtime stories or the sounds from outside (I especially loved the sound of rain).
But nowadays, children fall asleep scrolling their social media accounts and stalking their so-called influencers. Or, they don’t really fall asleep.
Research has shown that exposure to blue light from screens before bed tricks children’s brains into thinking it’s daytime, hence they don’t fall asleep.
Moreover, children can expose themselves to cyberbullies and inappropriate content while using technology before bed, which can cause fear.
Best Practices for Managing Your Child’s Technology Use
Parents and caregivers often struggle to find a proper solution for balancing tech usage and avoiding trust issues with their little ones. So, here are the best practices for managing your child’s technology use.
· Setting Clear Rules and Boundaries
There’s nothing wrong with informing your children that rules are crucial to every family’s well-being. Set clear rules about a tech-free bedroom and turn off notifications a few hours before bedtime.
· Encouraging Healthy Habits
Encourage healthy habits such as having a light dinner together, discussing daily activities, reading, and telling stories before bed. You can even take nighttime walks (don’t mind if it rains).
· Using Monitoring Software
Set parental controls and a monitoring system to see if your children use their smartphones during the night.
Some parental control apps that can help you observe your children’s activities are Qustodio, mSpy, Norton Family, Google Family Link, etc.
When Taking Away Your Child’s Phone at Night Is Appropriate
Taking away your children’s phones might seem like a radical parental reaction, but protecting your children’s health is more important.
When your children’s tech usage becomes excessive and addictive, and your children display behavioral changes, get upset and nervous, don’t sleep and eat, and argue with family members, taking your child’s smartphone is the correct decision.
If your children face inappropriate content or become victims of digital bullies, you should immediately take away their smartphones and try to deal with the situation.
Children that have experienced such behavior remain silent, are isolated, and feel shame, stress, fear, panic attacks, and depression.
When Taking Away Your Child’s Phone at Night May Not Be Appropriate
Sometimes taking away your child’s phone may not be appropriate. Children need some time to relax too, so we can’t use Spartan methods on them all the time.
For example, when your children are shy and are only comfortable with virtual communication, let them use their phones before bed.
Moreover, children can use their phones to study at night, so taking away their phones may hinder educational opportunities.
Lastly, avoid taking away your child’s phone when it may cause more harm than good. Especially keep this in mind if you’re raising a teenager.
Alternative Solutions to Taking Away Your Child’s Phone at Night
You don’t want to hurt our little one’s feelings by taking their smartphones radically, so try making charging phones in another room a habit.
To make sure that your children don’t sneak around at night with their phones, use parental control settings, monitor children’s social media activities, and limit screen time. And never forget to encourage fun offline activities such as family gatherings, board games, puzzles, etc.
How to Talk to Your Child About Taking Away Their Phone at Night
Taking away your younger child’s smartphone could be a piece of cake. But taking away your teenager’s smartphone can be painful and challenging.
So, parents must have a trusty bond with children to make them understand that parents don’t have bad intentions. Parents need to explain the reasons for taking away children’s smartphones, but should also be good listeners.
Listen to what your child is concerned about, be a persistent parent, and don’t let peer pressure or addiction harm your children’s well-being.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic wand that can bring us and our children to the times when tech wasn’t so important.
Nowadays, children depend on technology and often use it before bed. And you might say that the best solution is taking away the phone at night, but that’s not always the case.
The most important thing is to talk with your children, reach an agreement regarding screen time and night, and make a deal to spend as much time off-screen as they (and you) can.
How can I tell if my child is addicted to their phone?
Your children are addicted to their phones if they can’t stop scrolling through them, only talk on phones, and throw tantrums if you take them away.
At what age should I start taking away my child’s phone at night?
You should start taking away your child’s phone before bed at about 7-8 years.
What if my child needs their phone for an emergency?
Tell your children that in the case of an emergency, they can get up and use their phones.
How can I balance my child’s technology use with other activities?
Encourage fun tech-free activities such as puzzles, family bonding, arts, music, etc. When your children find the beauty in these simple yet interesting activities, they will surely leave their phones.
What if my child resents me for taking away their phone at night?
You should set rules that they must respect. After all, you are the parent. If you see that your child still isn’t satisfied, try doing a fun activity together.