Here is the CMT Uptime check phrase
Jenny Radesky
Jenny Radesky

7 tips for using your phone less

Mashable 12/30/23

Parenting is hard. Sometimes parenting is so challenging that, by comparison, your smartphone becomes an easy escape.

And even if you’d like to use your phone less, it’s hard to make a plan amid the daily grind of parenting tasks and obligations.

After all, who wouldn’t rather watch TikToks of the latest viral dance instead of listening to siblings bicker? The list of alternatives goes on and on. You could be checking sports scores, answering one last work email, shopping, finishing the grocery list, browsing itineraries for a solo vacation, texting a friend.

At some point, though, your phone can become a crutch for coping with hard feelings and situations. Too much screen time can also feel alienating for both you and your child.

If that’s the case, don’t feel guilty, because you’re not alone. More than half of parents say they’ve resolved to spend less time on their phone, according to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital’s national poll of 2,044 parents of children 18 and younger. Parents reported often setting this goal at milestone moments, like the new year, birthdays, or the start of school.

Dr. Jenny Radesky, a developmental behavioral pediatrician at the University of Michigan School of Medicine who conducts research on family screen time, says that parents really shouldn’t blame themselves if they turn to their phones frequently.

“It is hard to disengage from our phones,” Radesky says, noting that the devices are effectively designed to compete for our attention.

Instead of a prolonged guilt trip followed by little to no action, Radesky recommends the following strategies for parents who want to use their phone less:

1. Take stock of how you’re using your phone.

Parenting with a phone in hand can feel like a blur. You might move from handling a lunchbox crisis to looking for a dinner recipe to helping a toddler get their socks on to answering a work Slack message to confirming playdate plans, all within the span of 10 minutes.

Could the dinner recipe and playdate plan confirmation (and possibly work) have waited until your kid got out the door for school? Probably. Did they offer a much-needed distraction or make you feel more efficient? Perhaps.

Or think back to a calmer time of day. Did you take an after-dinner Wordle break from parenting that was supposed to be short but only ended with your child shouting at you to put your phone down?

Neither of these scenarios is inherently wrong, but it’s important to be aware of the dynamics that shape your phone use, says Radesky, who is also co-medical director of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Center of Excellence on Social Media and Youth Mental Health.

You might look at a screen time report to determine how much time you’re spending on specific apps, messaging platforms, and newsfeeds. Reflect on how these different uses make you feel. Does impulse shopping on Amazon in an effort to soothe your frayed nerves after a child’s meltdown really improve your mood? Only you know the answer.

Developing an awareness of what’s appealing about your phone, and how phone-related activities make you feel, is key to coming up with a plan to ultimately use it less.

Click on the title link to read the full article.