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Five tips to help save your child from tech addiction

Could too much technology time lead to rebellious behavior or even worse with your child?

An Iowa teenager recently ran away from home when his parents took his cell phone.

As reported by most major media outlets, the 13-year-old boy was found dead about five days later.

While no one will ever know what really caused this boy’s death, and various issues could have affected his behavior, taking away his cell phone was certainly a contributing factor in an argument between the boy and his parents.

Today, many youngsters are getting addicted to their tech gadgets at a young age. Many parents give their children iPads and tablets at age 2, some even earlier.

Studies are beginning to emerge indicating the problems associated with technology addiction.

Too much time on the device can lead to slow development of social skills and a lack of communication. It can also have long-term physical effects with brain development and related problems.

Here are five helpful tips to reduce technology dependency and increase healthy conversations.

1. Give very young children blocks and toys, not devices. The best toys will engage children’s senses, spark their imaginations and encourage them to interact with others. As they grow, babies can use toys to explore object permanence and cause and effect relationships. They also need objects like blocks to help develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

2. Parents should put away their devices and set a good example. The demands of society can be tough, but mom and dad need to stay away from their devices and talk to their kids. Create device-free times around dinner and later. Interact with your children by playing board games and other activities that encourage conversation. Work-related messages can always be answered after the kids have gone to bed.

3. Consider giving your child/teen a flip phone instead of a smartphone. A flip phone encourages more conversations and discourages internet access and app use. If you need to provide your child with a phone because you don’t have a landline and your child is home alone, or you need to pick up your child from school or practice and need to be able to communicate, a flip phone will suffice.

4 Keep “device boundaries” between your child and his friends so he doesn’t dominate their lives. When scheduling playdates, sleepovers, and social outings… ask parents what their device policy is and stick to it. Don’t let your child take their device to a friend’s house if that family has a no-device policy. If you must contact your child, get the parent’s phone number to contact your child.

5. Learn how to limit screen time and block content. If you’re concerned about the technology, but not to the point where you feel like it should be eliminated altogether, learn about the best products on the market for blocking content, enforcing screen time limits, and more. Some good apps for this are Circle and Bark.

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