Dad and Jeremy at the breakfast table
Dad: So, you actually wake yourself up at night to check your text messages?
Jeremy: Sure, I couldn't sleep of I didn't.
A parent recently tuned me into a teen saying: "FOMO" Which mean, "fraid of missing out" And that is what is at the core of teens addictions to their phones and other social networking devices. The truth is there is nothing to miss out on. I once asked my college students to take their phones out in class and read me the last text message that they had received. I did this after a particularly frustrating class when I kept catching students with their phones in their laps, or front and center on their desks, checking text messages. Here is what the most popular text was: "Wassup???" and then of course the more creative kids sent a pic of the lunch they were having at the cafeteria. You absolutely would not want to miss out on critical information like that, would you?
It might be fun, to do this with your kids after a particularly trying dinner when your teen would not part with their phone at the dinner table. This is why it is absolutely imperative that you do not allow your teens to take their phones to bed. Like Jeremy, they are afraid of missing out on some important nugget and keep their phone accessible even during the midnight hour! Trust me, this is interfering with their sleep. One parent recently told me that as she was doing a spot check monitoring of her teens' phone, she was surprised to see the number of texts that were coming in at 12:30 and 1 AM on school nights. "Of course he has trouble getting up in the morning for school" she said. And the phones are now parked in the parent's bedroom for a sleepover!
Stick to your guns on this one. Your teen will never have the discipline to do it on their own, after all they are FOMO.