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Psychologist gives advice for parents on managing children’s cellphone use

Posted at 8:18 AM, Aug 13, 2019

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — From your child's perspective, it's probably the most important item they'll take to school today -- their smartphone.

Parents hope they use it for good and don't stay glued to it all day.

Kiara Morales is a recent graduate of Atlantic High School.

She shared her perspective said, "Teachers are like, if you want to use your phone, fine, but that's your fault for not getting the information you need and not doing well."

Morales has seen plenty of students use phones the correct way but also the wrong way.

"Those are the types of people that makes the older generation say that we're always on our phones, when that's not really the case," said Morales.

Social media apps on phones are the norm and your kids' brains are wired accordingly.

Mental Health Counselor Erinn Beck said, "We're trying to figure out who we are, who we want to be in the world, and we look to others to get that feedback."

Beck says the balance of disciplining smartphone misuse is delicate

Kids just aren't equipped to handle all those notifications.

"It's really hard to be honest with ourselves at that age. How is it affecting me? Am I able to stop myself from checking a notification when it comes in because as I mentioned, the impulse control is poor,” said Beck.

Recent research from the University of Chicago shows even with the phone turned off and face down, its mere presence lowers cognitive capacity.

Developing boundaries starts both ways.

Morales's mom checked everything from text messages to social media direct messages.

"I felt a little upset with her because I felt like she didn't really have a lot of trust in me, and I felt like she was treating me a lot younger than I really am," said Morales.

Beck agrees to establish boundaries with privacy.

"Messages back and forth should be private, just like back in the day we exchanged notes. And how mortified we'd be if our parents read those," said Beck.
Instead, check everything publicly shared.

The upside is students can find inspiration through social media.

"Sometimes those people might not have access to that kind of access at home, so its good social media can give that to them," said Morales.