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DD15 Addicted to Smartphone

(81 Posts)
Etainagain Mon 27-Jan-14 18:51:13

My 15 yr old DD spends virtually every waking moment glued to her smartphone screen (fortunately, she isn't allowed a mobile at school, so there are some enforced breaks during term time). When I threaten to take it off her, she goes ballistic and her personality changes completely. She behaves like someone addicted to a hard drug, wide eyed and manic just at the very thought of her phone being taken away for a short time (I only suggested that she hand her phone over to me when she goes to bed). Her reaction and bad temper really scares me. Thing is, she is somehow managing to keep up with her school work and, at the moment, is predicted to get A*s in all subjects except one. She says that there is no reason to take her phone away as that would be punishing her when she is actually doing really well. She has got two GCSEs coming up this year and the rest next year. I don't know what to do....should I restrict her use or do you think that if she is doing OK I shouldn't worry? I should add that she doesn't get pocket money and she doesn't go out very often (never at night). Apart from the phone and the usual teenage tantrums and door slamming, she is no trouble. I'm just worried that she could throw everything away just for the sake of chatting or whatever they do on Instagram.

MrsBright Mon 27-Jan-14 19:30:24

Insist on the phone being handed over at bedtime. They need a break from 'screens' in order to sleep properly, and so it doesn't become this sort of obsession.

I use 'no more phone credit' or 'loose phone for a day' as a consequence of being difficult/shouty about this.

Or you can just unplug the internet router at 9pm every night. That'll fix it.

Etainagain Mon 27-Jan-14 20:12:29

Unfortunately, she has got unlimited internet access on her phone, so switching off the router wouldn't make much difference. She said that she doesn't look at the phone when she goes to bed and only uses it as an alarm clock, but I'm not sure whether I believe her. She does like her sleep, but when I offered to buy her a new alarm clock, she still refused to give up the phone. I've signed up for a 2 year contract (18 months to go) but I'm tempted to get rid of the flashy phone and put the SIM card in a cheap and very basic mobile and make her use that instead. Someone said that taking the phone away from her could turn her into a social pariah as all teenagers communicate that way nowadays. So not sure what to do! Thanks so much for your reply...I think threatening to take it away for a day is a very good idea.

headlesslambrini Mon 27-Jan-14 20:19:02

no idea if this would work or not but have a word with the phone provider and see if they can block the internet after 9pm and not switch it back on until 8am. Together with unplugging the wifi router might work.

Etainagain Mon 27-Jan-14 20:23:33

Great idea headless, it is certainly worth asking. It is a pity that us parents can't have a way of remotely controlling their phone use. I'd certainly be very keen to sign up for a mobile contract that would allow me to limit her time on the phone. As it is possible to cap usage, surely it must be possible to not allow internet access at night?

davidjrmum Mon 27-Jan-14 20:32:38

Is she on it all the time or is it just that she wants it with her. If she is heading for lots of A's she must presumably be doing a fair bit of homework. My dd is 15 and sounds very much like your's - doing well at school, doesn't go out in the evening. Her phone does seem to be her lifeline to her friends. I haven't tried to take it off her but I don't think she'd take too kindly to it if I did! I do recall - a long time ago now! - being told off by my parents for spending hours on the phone to my friends in the evening (what can you possibly have to talk about, you've seen them all day at school my mum and dad used to say). If we'd have had iphones then I expect we'd have been on them all the time too.

Claybury Mon 27-Jan-14 20:34:56

My DD 15 is the same. Also working hard, no drinking etc or other teenage stuff, but attached to phone in the same way. Our wifi is off at night but now she has data on phone it's tricky.
I kind of feel sorry for this generation. She laughs when I say that because she loves it and can't see it being a problem.

Threatening to take phone off DD or DS is the one thing to cause a riot.

Etainagain Mon 27-Jan-14 21:05:16

Yes davidjrmum she is on the phone the whole time. When she's doing her homework, she is constantly messaging friends. She can't even put it down when she's practising her instruments, she checks her phone every two minutes and messages between scales. She is completely addicted to it. She is doing well at school now but I can't see it continuing much longer. How will she ever be able to revise for exams if she carries on like this? If her work was suffering at the moment, I'd take it off her, but because she's behaving well otherwise, I don't want her to think I'm punishing her. You're right though, if there had been smartphones around when I was a teen, I'd have been exactly the same (which worries me too....I don't want her to end up like me..I was so lazy at school!).

david and clay, are your DDs on their phones late at night? Do they take them to bed with them?

davidjrmum Mon 27-Jan-14 22:06:39

She's on her phone now and it's nearly 10. She has it next to her bed at night and she has it on her lap all the time she's doing homework but nevertheless the homework does get done and she gets good grades. Just out of interest I said to her about half an hour ago "I've been thinking that I should have your phone after 9pm" and she got really quite cross! After a few minutes I said there was a thread on mumsnet and I was just interested to see what her reaction would be - now I know! I do ask my dd what she uses her phone for, not in a confrontational way but just genuinely out of interest (what do you kids go on these days type of discussion). Quite often, when I've noticed she's been particularly phone mad she's addicted to a particular game like candy crush.

Etainagain Mon 27-Jan-14 22:19:10

My DD is still on her phone. She's been sitting next to me for the last hour on her phone. I just asked her what she does on it (after reading your last post david...I tried to sound very casual!). She said she's being playing something called Flappy Bird (!?!) and chatting to friends. I asked her why she doesn't phone her friends as she's got a lot of unused minutes on her contract, but she said she doesn't like talking on the phone as she can't multi task. Surely that must affect their ability to concentrate? Not that I can talk though. I've just been sitting watching TV and posting on Mumsnet!

TheDoctorsNewKidneys Tue 28-Jan-14 07:55:00

It's hard, but I think so long as she's keeping up with her homework and music practise, and getting enough sleep, you don't really have a reason to take it off her. My parents were generally pretty relaxed with me as long as I kept my grades up, did my homework and kept doing my music practise. As long as all that was done, they weren't that fussed about screen time and talking on the phone.

Let her know that if she stops getting her work done, then you'll have to think about imposing some rules around her phone use, but she seems pretty good at multi-tasking and regulating herself if she's getting good grades!

davidjrmum Tue 28-Jan-14 08:40:14

Hi Etainagain, my dd was still on at 10:30 and when I asked her what she was on (ever so casually!) she was playing a motor racing game! My dd never talks on her phone so the free minutes are a complete waste of time. Had to smile re the multi tasking - you're right - I'm constantly flitting between work and mumsnet in the evenings (we have a family business so I'm catching up with paperwork). By the way, really envious that your dd actually does her music practice even if she is on her phone at the same time!

mrsjay Tue 28-Jan-14 09:21:32

MY dd is 15 and it is like a third limb I am not sure what we can do about it I switch the wifi off at night she works hard though passed all her exams last year I guess it is what they all do stuck to a screen is normal for them sadly

mrsjay Tue 28-Jan-14 09:23:48

dd doesn't phone anybody dd1 hates using the phone they all text and facebook and whatever else they can do on the smart phones, when dds are studying or doing any kind of work they seem to manage with phones and laptops and working, dd1 managed good grades and revised and did homework like this, but i get your point how can they concentrate with all that going on but they do,

AphraBane Tue 28-Jan-14 09:27:31

DD (11) only got her smartphone at Xmas, and I've set up a system that the charger is out in the hall and she has to deliver it there at bedtime (between 8 and 9 pm). Also she's on a PAYG contract with no data, so she can only access the internet at home via wi-fi anyway. And phones are banned in schools - it's already been confiscated once for 'checking the time' and she knows next time we will confiscate it for good.

But it's way more difficult with a 15yo, I appreciate that. I have a 15 yo DD too, and fortunately she's not addicted at all, but if she were it would be more of a process of negotiation.

chocoluvva Tue 28-Jan-14 10:07:02

When she's doing her homework she's constantly messaging her friends. She can't even put it down when she's practising her instruments, she checks her phone every two minutes and messages between scales.

Exactly the same as my 17YO DD shock. If it's any encouragement, my DD did well enough to get an unconditional offer on a very competitive uni course despite her constant phone usage.

But I'm sad that she doesn't read at all. IMO reading in bed has been replaced by screen time. And I think she'd have done better if she didn't have a smart-phone addiction. I'd like to think she'd have better general knowledge too. Maybe not though...

She admits to being addicted but claims that "everyone has their addictions," mine being sugar and her brother's being his games console. blush Last year we tried hard to get her to restrict her phone time during lent - she always 'does something' for lent. She wouldn't even consider it. sad I'm going to suggest that I'll give up sugar for lent if she reduces her phone time but I'm not hopeful. She is extremely stubborn anyway. She never ever takes advice about anything and would argue black is white. She has very little self-discipline.
Recently she realised she'd left her charger at a friend's and wouldn't get it back for two days. Despite me offering to drive her to another friend's house to borrow a spare charger in an hour she walked the 50 minute round trip to get the charger as soon as possible!

DD's contract has the option of paying £1 per month to have usage itemised - the text and call numbers are available to view online with the time made. So I know how late at night she's on her phone.

As you say though OP - is worrying about this 'sweating the small stuff'?
DD doesn't drink much or smoke and has a good social life and DH reminds me that our generation were criticised for watching too much Tv.

chocoluvva Tue 28-Jan-14 10:07:47

sorry - 'give up sugar for lent this year'

chocoluvva Tue 28-Jan-14 10:13:05

claybury - my DD claims that I don't "understand the youth of today".

Which irritates me as I try hard to keep up with the lifestyle (and foibles) of 'the youth of today' and I teach some teenagers on a one to one basis, so I wouldn't have thought I was too out of touch. Especially as DD has me as a friend on facebook and I go on twitter

Claybury Tue 28-Jan-14 10:23:00

Chocco- so true about books. DD15 announced last year that she'd read her first book for several years, in front of my friend whose DC's are still young. My friend was simply amazed.
Maybe we need to accept this is their environment. The ones that succeed in this environment are those who can multi task and self regulate. Technology is not going away.
We try to forbid phone usage while we watch a film together but that's a challenge. DD sneaks off to put kettle on - AKA checking phone.
We are all guilty of it to some extent though aren't we ?
I would read more books if there was no internet.

mrsjay Tue 28-Jan-14 10:34:03

I have dds on facebook but god if i dare to like anything apparently i am trying to be down with the kids hmm ok then

Starballbunny Tue 28-Jan-14 10:35:47

Don't ever fight battles with DCs you don't need to, just because you feel you should.

You will not win!

(If her grades slip or she doesn't pass her music exams, then gentle phone removal in the mid part of the evening to get the job done and giving it her back at night may be the way to go. I don't remove gadgets late at night because I have a night owl who sleeps when tired and not when told regardless)

mrsjay Tue 28-Jan-14 10:38:22

starball I agree with you sometimes it is better to just not get into it , of course if school work is suffering then of course regulate phone/internet use but if everything is fine then dont get into it, ime you can't force a teenager to be social ,

chocoluvva Tue 28-Jan-14 10:47:57

DD complained that I hadn't liked her 'In a relationship' status thingy! Well no - seeing as I'd never met the BF (apart from any other consideration) Then she complained about me liking photos of her and her friends! Two of her friend's mums frequently 'like' things of loads of hers and lots of her friends. And they comment shock (and DD and her friend 'like' their comments!)

mrsjay Tue 28-Jan-14 10:50:31

we are damned if we do damned if we dont choco it is all so confusing <wibble>

chocoluvva Tue 28-Jan-14 10:53:08

I'm tempted to make a comment along the lines of, "How lovely darling. You're absolutely gorgeous - I must be the proudest mum in the whole world. Love you squigglepuff." Heh.

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