What to do if your kid is always on smartphones and gaming

By Dr Richard C. Woolfson   — June 03, 2019
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    Is your primary-school child always using his smartphone and tablet?

    Before you nag at him (again), it’s useful to learn why he’s attached to the gadgets, so you can find the right solution.

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  • Your child wants to keep in touch with his friends
    2 / 6 Your child wants to keep in touch with his friends

    How you can help: Instead of communicating with his pals through social media or texts, he could give them a call. 

    You can also encourage him to meet his friends face-to-face, either at your home or theirs. There is no need for him to speak to them constantly in the virtual world when he can catch up with them in the real world.

    Related: Kids’ meals in Singapore: 9 best places to go

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  • Your child can't think of anything else to do
    3 / 6 Your child can't think of anything else to do

    How you can help: Help him plan a range of activities to do. There are many that don’t involve the use of technology, if only he could be motivated to take part.

    For instance, he could play in the park, ride his bicycle, go to the swimming pool or drop in at the library.

    Don’t worry if he rolls his eyes at first when you suggest these – you’ll eventually persuade him to take part.

    Related: Where to go with kids in Singapore: June 2019

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  • Your child has fun playing with phone games
    4 / 6 Your child has fun playing with phone games

    How you can help: You don’t have to ban gadgets altogether, you just have to ensure they are used reasonably. That’s why you should discuss their usage with your child.

    Explain that you are quite happy for him to use Youtube, surf the Internet, or text his friends every day, but only for a fixed amount of time. You might decide one or two hours a day is enough.

    Related: What to do when your kid does badly in exams

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  • Your child is socially isolated
    5 / 6 Your child is socially isolated

    How you can help: Gadgets can be a substitute for friends. If you think this could be a factor for your child, help him find ways to mix with others.

    Maybe he could invite one or two classmates home one afternoon, or ask them to join him in watching a movie.

    Help him find the words he needs to invite them. Or you could enroll him in a class at a community centre – he might make friends more easily in a structured activity.

    Related: Your child is bored again? Try creating a “free-time” schedule together

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  • Your child can't plan in advance
    6 / 6 Your child can't plan in advance

    How you can help: Suggest that your tween start booking in some activities ahead.

    Instead of waking up wondering what he will do later on that day – and he instinctively reaches for his smartphone while thinking about this – he can have pre-booked activities, such as playing with his friend next Monday, riding his bike in the park next Tuesday and so on.

    Having some diary entries gives a structure to his day, without involving gadgets.

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

    Related: 6 discipline secrets from Singapore mums

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