Parents, it is no secret that cell phones and technology are literally the backbone of our world today. As humans we desire to connect, and through technology, we have the ability to always be connected.
But as many of us have discovered, constant connectivity is not always such a wonderful thing.
In a recent testimonial from START (Stand Together And Rethink Technology) one mom shares the nightly struggle she found herself facing with her teenage daughter.
Allison says her 16-year-old daughter is like any other teen who deals with the ups and downs of a high school social life.
Last year, Allison and her husband got their daughter a cell phone for safety purposes. But it wasn’t long before the teen was using it for much more than that.
“She was staying up late at night texting and on social media, and the beautiful daughter I know and love was, quite frankly, becoming awful to live with,” Allison says.
After looking into the hours of late night phone use, the mother from Overland Park, Kansas, decided to start keeping her daughter’s phone at night.
“I honestly had no idea how much this decision would impact her,” Allison said. “After she blew up in anger, she began sobbing and puddled on the floor. As I held her, I just listened. Listened to all the worries and fears of fitting in and keeping up, but there was something even more alarming keeping her up at night…My daughter had been counseling another teen late at night who was suicidal. Her huge heart had been on high alert. She HAD to stay up and be available at all times ‘in case’ her friend needed her.”
By implementing a system that required her daughter’s phone to be “put to bed” at night, it opened up the floodgates for healthy communication.
“We were able to talk, really talk, (well, she talked and I held my breath hoping that it wouldn’t stop). She shared all her social circle drama, the comments on social media she had to keep up with, the sleep overs and parties she saw that she knew she wasn’t invited to, and most importantly how she was single handedly owning responsibility for her friend’s life. My teen was relieved when we talked through how to break the silence and get her friend help, real help, and that it wasn’t my daughter’s responsibility to carry that burden, especially not alone. Together we came up with a plan to involve adults who can support her friend and break the silence over suicidal thoughts.”
Allison says that navigating technology with and for our teens is no easy task. But she’s happy to report that their bedtime routine has radically changed her daughter for the better.
“After the dust settled and we stuck to our new “no phone at bedtime” rule, I was amazed at the changes we saw. I could tell that my girl was so relieved! Much like setting limits with a curfew, she needed that structure from us to take the pressure off. Also, while initially it was an adjustment for all of us at bedtime to take the phone (not going to lie, some days were harder than others depending on what was going on socially), after awhile it became routine. She began to use our limits to protect herself too, telling peers her mom and dad were taking the phone (we gave her permission to blame us for any lame-ness). She got sleep, she was less irritable and I saw my beautiful girl come back.”
Parents, it’s so important for us to set the tone for healthy boundaries when it comes to technology use. Our kids’ health is SO worth it, and so is the battle of putting the device to bed.
Stay vigilant, friends.