ADHD child and cell phone use

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Parents Behavior & Discipline ADHD child and cell phone use

Viewing 4 reply threads
  • Author
    • #187415

      I have a 12 year old son diagnosed with ADHD since about 6. He is unmedicated and can handle momost parts of his life with other types of support. We have given him a cellphone about a year ago. He walks home from school and sometimes is there for a bit before my wife or I get home. He has shown responsibility in walking home and being there on his own for a bit. However, we’ve began seeing some challenges the last couple months. He has gone to junior high and has made new friends who also have access to phones. In theory, I don’t have issue with him having access to communicate with friends. He is quite popular which we are thankful for given adhd kids often having social struggles.

      The concern I have is the draw the phone is now having on him. It’s becoming his primary source of entertainment. There is a hyper focus on texting/watching tiktok videos etc. in the last few months he went from having very little interest in the phone to being the the most “important” thing to him. It has led to some behaviors such as sneaking the phone, getting upset when asked to get off, and general distraction in place of other responsibilities.

      I don’t want to remove the phone completely because it has provided our family the benefit of increasing his independence and responsibility, but the headaches of the use during downtimes is becoming a challenge behaviorally. I’m looking for feedback on tactics that have worked for other parents in allowing cell phone use in an appropriate way. I feel teaching appropriate use now will help as he gets older, but I need advice in getting through some of the challenges that go with this new exciting thing in his life. Thanks in advance.

    • #187447

      I do not have a great answer for you other than I can sympathize. I am coming to the realization that my daughter is addicted to her phone in a way that is interfering with her ability to get anything else accomplished. In the past we always made them dock their phones with us near bedtime. Since Covid we let that slip and have not Reinstated. I think our next step is to put an ap on her phone that blocks use during parts of the day and then at night. I think the smart phones are a great tool for us all to have, but finding that balance is where we have to help our kids. She is going to put up a fight, but what else is new.

    • #187450
      Dr. Eric

      I recommend the following:
      – Activate the ScreenTime option or equivalent, review with child every week.
      – Chargers in parents room with a strict time to have them in the room.
      – Check out the website for internet safety tips with children.

    • #187633

      You have my sympathy. I know how frustrating this is. My 13 year old son cannot keep off his phone either. After his time on his computer playing Minecraft or whatever he will immediately go onto his phone. I end up so angry about him constantly using it when I have asked him not to that I decided it’s better for everyone if I remove it from him. I expect him to comply and be honest with me but the draw of the phone is too much and then I get upset that he has gone against our agreement. I can ask him to put it away and he can literally sneak on it it within seconds. Then other times he goes and forgets that we agreed he would not go back on. It is often because he is so fixated on something e.g. finding out how to do something on Minecraft or some other interest he has at the time. He sneaks it and hides it. Or will ask to send a message or google something but always end up on you tube or a game. I feel so bad treating him like such a baby at his age and taking it off him all the time. I honestly dont know how other children keep possession of their phone unmoderated. If I did that he literally would do nothing else!

    • #187777

      I feel for you. We recently had to take all “screens” (including his phone) away from our son because they were becoming a primary interest to the point of withdrawing from us and the rest of life.

      Making this decision was tough because as you mentioned, it is an outlet for him. However in our case he was even letting his grades fall and other life interests drop off, looking forward to only going on a screen when getting home from school. We did frame it to him as this is not a punishment, we just want him to get back to figuring out what he likes to do offline.

      We are going to re-evaluate which privileges he gets as his grades and outlook on life (outside of screens) improve. When he does get his phone back, I am looking at two apps to download that will help manage screentime.

      Good luck to you!

Viewing 4 reply threads

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.