Over the years, and by dint of making mistakes, observing, listening and reading, and raising many children, I have learned a lot. One of the things that seems to me to be most important today in relation to children and adolescents is the issue of cell phones and screens in general.
My children think I’m an exaggerator, but I think, on the contrary, that I’m too soft because I think the cell phone is the biggest enemy of the family and of the spiritual life as well, because it takes you away from silence and from the encounter with yourself.
In case it helps, here are some basic ideas on the subject. You can think like my children that I exaggerate and you don’t even need to pay attention to me, or maybe there is something here that will help you. I am not a psychologist or an expert in anything, just a mother who wants her children not to stray from the path that leads to heaven and to be happy making others happy. And for that, there are issues that it is essential to be clear about.
As a general criterion: the later, the better, and as for the screens the less and later, the better.
1. When they are very young, do not give them a cell phone to entertain themselves. They need never touch a cell phone.
2. In pre-adolescence, they may need to communicate with a friend or ask for something, etc… For that, they can use your cell.
3. When you consider that they can already have a cell phone (by the way, do not give it to them as a prize for anything or for their birthday; it’s a tool, nothing more), then make sure some basic rules are clear. There shouldn’t be many of them and you too need to follow them and enforce them always and at all ages. In my house almost all the rules boil down to this: the cell phone is left in a specific place as you enter the house and it stays there. If it has to be used, it is used there. That means it is used less, it is used in plain sight, and it is not in the room.
Always offer them alternatives that excite them and teach them how to live, give children and teenagers time to play, ride their bikes, go to the countryside, make plans with family and friends… and they will not need screens. This is an effort for you, but it is worth it. Don’t improvise your children’s education.
The cell phone should be a tool for communication or work, but it should never be considered a method of leisure. It is a fact that screens reduce children’s creativity and imagination, absorb adolescents’ time and limit their capacity for self-control, willpower and empathy. And, moreover, they drive children away from reading.