A recurring theme I see in sessions often is the impact that technology
and devices have on the parent-child relationship. Parents want to
scream or cry after redirecting their child multiple times to get off
of the device. The child continues to disregard the instructions or
begs for "just 5 more minutes!" over and over again or goes into a full
When a limit is set but the parent doesn't follow
through, the child learns that they can push the boundary and will
continue to do so, making defiance and attention seeking reactions to
become more intense, more frequent, and harder to break.
A parent with no leverage, such as the ability to remove the device, often leads the
parent to having increased frustration and unfortunately some not so
healthy interactions with the child, (i.e.. criticism, yelling, sarcasm, etc.).
Parents should know who their children are
messaging, what content they are viewing online or through social
media, and how they are interacting with peers, etc.
This will better protect and keep their children safe from abusers, bullying/social conflicts, and help to recognize depression or mental health concerns.
For these reasons, I highly recommend parents install Bark, Life360, or
other parental monitoring or controlling apps on their child's devices.
Parents should have the ability to shut down the device from their own
phone incase removing the device is not able to be done safely without
triggering physical aggression. Most cell phone carriers also have
their own apps available for a low-cost monthly fee. The free built-in
parental controls for most smart phones can be sufficient, and I
encourage parents to study up on what their parental control settings
Feel free to ask someone at the Apple store or at your local
service carrier store to show you how to install or operate the
settings available to you and your child. Also, keep an eye out for
"vault apps". These are apps disguised to look harmless, such as a
calculator; but in reality, it is a front for something else entirely.
This is a common way I see children and adolescents hiding social media
apps they know they are not allowed to have.
Please be sure to reach out if you feel you need additional support for setting limits and
following through, as we would be happy to assist you with developing
your behavior management skills.
Alyssa L. Muchaw, MA, LPC, ADHD-CCSP, NCC
Katy Child Psychology Associates