Want to get yout teens off their phones?

When kids are looking down on their phone, they are not seeing the big picture of the world.

Risks of Phone Overuse

  1. Loss of hearty relationships
  2. Loss of time
  3. Loss of potential
  4. Loss of freedom
  5. Loss of health
  6. Increase of powerlessness
  7. Increase of worthlessness
  8. Increase of anxiety
  9. Increase of depression
  10. EMF exposure (read about that here.)
kids with their phones

The biggest worries that make parents want their teens off their phones today

Kids are bombarded with over 4000 messages a day!

Add up posts, videos, ads, stories, headlines, content, direct messages, and texts!

Okay. Not all of them cause anxiety. Some stuff is fun and wildly entertaining — the girl who burns off her hair with her curling iron — but a lot do cause anxiety. I’ve singled out three main beliefs that have caused our personal stress to skyrocket in the last decade with the rise of smartphones. They are:

Other people are better than you.

The world is a dangerous place.

You deserve cool stuff “just because.”

These ideas leave kids feeling powerless, helpless, and out of control. We often think of these as symptoms of anxiety, but as a psychotherapist for over 20 years, and as a former sufferer myself, I know them as causes of it. Let me explain.

Other people are better than you.

Social media and the like encourage us to compare ourselves to the ideal pictures that we see. We don’t see the messy parts of celebrities’ or peers’ lives, and this tricks us into thinking that they don’t have any. (Meanwhile, you’re up close and personal with your messy parts.) On social media, everyone seems happy, confident, loved, and successful. It appears that these smiling people are just born lucky rather than doing anything to get there. (Then, they get so many hearts and comments, making it worse!)

By now, you’ve probably heard the research: The more time teens spend on social media, the more depressed and anxious they report feeling. Because. They.  Are. Comparing. Themselves.

Hear me: When they compare themselves to a thin slice at the end of someone’s success story, they don’t take into account the failure, hard work, and mistakes that got them there. And, so, they will always find themselves inadequate.

The world is a dangerous place.

The second is that traumatic events in their feeds make life on earth appear more and more dangerous even though statistically, the world has never been safer. Media outlets share the scary bits – making it seem random and out of control. The headlines are written to evoke fear so readers are compelled to click through to find out "if you’ll be okay or not!"

And, we can watch shocking and traumatic scenes in the palm of our hands. Before the dawn of video, when we experienced a threat, we were present and could use up our adrenaline responding to the situation. Now we witness violence very far away, and there’s nothing to do but be really freaked out, helplessly replaying it in our mind. (Adults, you too!)

You deserve cool stuff “just because.”

This last one is a big contributor to today’s mental health pandemic. It is marketing that touts, “You need this cool thing because you deserve it.” It manipulates viewers into dropping the ideals of work ethic, making them think they don’t have to put effort into creating and receiving their desires. Companies know that if you believe you have to work for something to get it, sales drastically decrease. Common Sense Media reported that children under 18 see an average of 1.5 million of these entitled ads a year. This saturation in marketing messages like, “You’re supposed to have this!” becomes a paradigm through which you see yourself and the world. #toomanyhoursofyoutube

Of course, that’s not how it works. They don’t get everything you want. Not having integrated cause and effect, this disappointment is nuanced with confusion. I mean, their mind might totally get it, but their sense of worth feels a bit slighted. Their heart doesn’t understand why they can’t have it, and so it comes up with its own false conclusion: I guess I don’t deserve it.

While mainly this happens below awareness, most people can relate to feeling a pang of unworthiness when you can’t afford something everyone else has. You try to figure out why you are unworthy, which is an invitation for the mind to look for a problem. (This is the thing: When you let the mind look for a problem, it will oblige you.) Then, since you’re already feeling badly, the mind’s problem sounds smart and logical: You’ve made lots of mistakes. You annoy people. You are ugly.

Phones cause negative self-talk

Kids also wonder: What did I do wrong? If they can’t answer that – and they can’t because they didn’t do anything wrong – they can’t fix it, and it increases their distress.

They feel increasingly worthless, powerless, and out of control. #nosedivedowntherabbithole #thegenzfrenzy

If we don't do something, the mental health crisis will get worse.

-> U.S. Teenagers spend on average over 4.5 hours a day on their phones.

-> Teens who spend more than 3 hours/day on electronic devices are 35 percent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide than those who spend less than an hour.

-> Teens who spend more than 5 hours/day on their phones are 71 percent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide.

-> Teenagers report greater contentment within hours of a break from their devices.

When kids think of themselves as powerless, you feel like you can’t handle challenges, changes, or the unknown. And in an uncertain world, this is terrifying. With this constant message bombardment, adults are freaking out! How can young people not be completely, totally, utterly overwhelmed?

What’s worse is what people do when they feel out of control. They try to get in control. Unfortunately, too many go down paths of what I call “pseudo-power.” Because, it feels like power, but it is fleeting and not ultimately satisfying, so you have to keep seeking and demanding it. Yet, you still feel anxious.

Teens try to either control themselves through resistance, rebellion, food overindulgence or restriction, demanding self-perfection, overusing video games, or obsession with social media, to name a few. These are bad enough, but in extremes, this feeling out of control leads some kids to use drugs, be sexually promiscuous, practice self-harm, or most tragically think about, attempt or complete suicide.

Though less frequent, some teens even try to get control over others, by bullying, sex, or violence.

What we can do

When our kids are anxious, we are desperate to relieve them and take things off their plates to ease their stress. Unfortunately, that reinforces helplessness, keeping anxiety in power. What is worse, the isolation and lack of mental engagement leave the mind idle and more vulnerable to spiraling negative thoughts.

If the consequences of the world chatter make you feel hopeless, don’t fear! I share it to lay the framework for understanding how you can feel better. These messages may have been unconsciously affecting you before I explained them, but now that you're in the know, you're equipped to dismiss the distorted beliefs that they encourage.

They don't have to give up your phone completely. I love my phone and understand if kids love their phones. You probably adore yours too. (I even get it that we all have a love/hate relationship with it.) Phones are not going away. But knowing the dangers will help you make smarter choices for your kids (and yourself) going forward. Like, spending some designate time away from the phone each day, hopefully doing some physical movement. Or, make sure they are involved in creative activities, and in-person with good, uplifting people for a significant part of the day.

girl on phone

Get Your Teens Off Their Phone

Learn how to get your teens off their phones in four, easy to consume audio files (~20 min mp3s in Dropbox). Because you are so busy running around taking care of everyone and driving hours each day to this practice and that rehearsal, YOU NEED EASY.  And in the end- this is what you get:

You'll get happier teenagers who grow into well-balanced adults.

You'll enjoy closer relationships with your teen with less conflict.

The entire family will enjoy more peace and less stress in your home.

You'll watch your teenagers working at their potential.

In the How to Get Your Teen Off their Phone training, you'll learn

  1. What your teen needs from you to maximize their social, emotional and physical development.
  2. The four dangers of phone overuse.
  3. The limits to set with your teen over their phone, and exactly how to set them.
  4. Replacing phone time with self-esteem building activities.

Easy to consume audio files to change your family's life for the price of a book.

No fluff- just actionable advice you can use today. Are you in?

Because they are delivered immediately (within 20 min of purchase), there are no refunds for this program.

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