6 Easy Ways You Can Cut Down Phone Time When You're With Your Family

Get some more quality time.

24/04/2017 14:08

We might be guilty of nagging our children about their addictions to all things electronic, but how often do we think about the amount of time we are using our smartphone around our families?

Whether that is checking emails when you’re out of the office, scrolling through Facebook trying to catch up with your friends, or looking at photos of the kids, we can all forget to put down our devices.

Now a study by Digital Awareness UK found that more than a third of 11 to 18-year-olds have had to ask their parents to put down their mobile phone.

Sally Anscombe via Getty Images

Not only that but 14% of the children polled said that mum and dad were regularly online during family dinner times. While 95% of the same set of parents denied ever using their device at the table.

So what should parents do if they want to try and cut down their phone time when they are at home? Try these six simple tips. 

1. Download a screen-time monitoring app.

They say that the first step to dealing with a problem is admitting that you have one, and for many parents (including those surveyed) it seems that we all have a tough time acknowledging how much we use our phones.

So for a quick (and pretty brutal) reality check, download a screen-time monitoring app, such as ‘Moments’, available in the app store, which tells you in no uncertain terms how often you’re reaching for your phone. Terrifying. 

2. Give yourself set phone times.

Giving yourself set time slots for phone usage will mean a drastic reduction in the casual picking-up-just-to-check mentality that we don’t even realise is distracting us from our children.

It also helps you to argue about how much time they are spending on social media, if you’re setting a good example.

3. Leave your emails at the door. 

We know this is easier said than done for many parents, and we can make all manner of excuses for why we need to keep refreshing our inbox outside of the office, but how often is it really essential?

Also a great excuse to tell your boss when they ask why you aren’t contactable 24/7. 

4. Put it in aeroplane mode. 

If you are finding it hard to resist a casual glance at your phone when you think no one is looking, keep temptation at bay by turning on aeroplane mode so you can’t check in mindlessly. 

This simple move will stop anything from being delivered to your phone throughout the evening, and then if you really can’t resist, wait till the children have gone to bed and turn it back on. 

5. Turn off push notifications. 

If putting your phone in aeroplane mode seems a step too far, and you’re worried about being uncontactable for long periods of time, then instead address one of the biggest indulgences - social media - by turning off push notifications. 

This is fairly self-explanatory on most social platforms, and just means that you have to actively enter the app before you’ll be notified about any updates, rather than have them sent to your lock screen. 

6. Have a ‘no phones at the table’ rule. 

It seems that for many parents, one of the times we are guilty of using our phones most is at the dinner table.

Even if this is just getting it out of your pocket to check once or twice, the survey clearly shows that this is having a detrimental affect on families. So leave it somewhere out of reach while you are eating.

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