Currently teenagers have easy accessibility to smartphones, practically everyone has one. It is difficult to find a 13-14 year old boy who does not have one in his possession, and even more rare to find a smartphone without WhatsApp installed. It is one of the most used applications in the world with more than seven years of life.
Actually, this application is nothing to write home about, there are many other similar applications that help us to communicate, it is a new type of leisure that has become fashionable. Why then all the fuss? Because of its immediacy, ease of use and that it is practically free . Moreover, money is usually one of the reasons that children give their parents to use the application, the money “that they are going to save.”
What is clear to us is that regardless of the program we are using when we talk about mobile phones, we cannot deny that most of us make excessive use of it, not just the average adolescent. For example, we only have to enter a cafeteria or restaurant and count how many people are consulting the phone at the table even if they are in company. If we adults already do it, we cannot ask teenagers to behave differently.
HOW LONG IS TOO MUCH?
If our son has a mobile phone and is of a certain age, it is normal for him to use WhatsApp with his friends, the question here is how long it is correct and how long he uses it. Many adolescents begin to change their behavior with high technologies , and not precisely for good. Many neglect studies or relationships with family or friends. They can also acquire bad habits such as taking their mobile to sleep with them, which reduces the hours and quality of sleep, even getting up to look at a message that has reached them in the middle of the night. What are the consequences? Exhaustion the next day and lack of concentration.
We can think that the solution is to remove the data or the SIM from the mobile, but this is counterproductive because as soon as they recover the mobile with access they will go back to their old ways. You have to understand that the use of technologies is the order of the day and banning WhatsApp will only delay the inevitable. Therefore, rather than withdrawing, the ideal is to educate, to set limits. At least at home and in high school. What can we do?
1. AT WHAT AGE SHOULD THEY START USING WHATSAPP?
From 9-10 years old, they will surely start with the problem of having their own mobile or WhatsApp if they already have one. Some experts recommend that at that age they can start using WhatsApp as long as it is under adult supervision. However, when they are 14 or 15 years old, it is difficult for children to agree to write if their parents are going to be there. Here you have to take into account the maturity of the boy more than his age.
2. THE KEY IS EDUCATION
Before letting your teen use WhatsApp, have a quiet chat with him. Tell him that there are many things that go offline about the privacy of the WhasApp. In social networks such as Facebook there is usually a privacy section where they explain who can access the photos and messages you upload. However, this aspect is not very clear in the case of WhatsApp, it is a gray area. That is why both adolescents and adults would have to speak on WhatsApp as if the conversations were public, taking into account that all the photos and audios that we pass could be heard by other people.
3. RULES FOR THE USE OF THE MOBILE
Parents have to negotiate with the adolescent rules for the use of the mobile and never impose them on them , it is better that they collaborate because otherwise we will only get bad faces and that they take the mobile with more anxiety at the first change. For this you can let him use the mobile quietly but restrict it at various times of the day, in which it is not necessary to carry it with him. Those moments are meal times (which are to be enjoyed as a family), study time (if the adolescent is supposed to study, why does he want it?) And bedtime.
In the case of the institute, it is up to choice, there are parents who choose to ask them to leave their mobile at home. It will have to be assessed based on the maturity of the child.
4. ENCOURAGES ACTIVITIES AND ALTERNATIVE LEISURE
Is the teenager signed up for a team? There is no better way to get him to unhook from the mobile than a team sport. With this we will first of all get him to do an activity incompatible with the use of the mobile phone and at the same time he will also be interacting with his friends but this time in a real way. You have to look for a type of leisure that really hooks the adolescent and that he or she likes, so that they are motivated to do it and have a good time while “forgetting” their mobile phone a bit.
In the same way, you can leave more time during the week to be with friends. If instead of going out one day a week in the afternoon, you let him go out for two or three days, perhaps the adolescent does not have as much need to use WhatsApp since he will directly meet his friends and talk with them, at least you will know that while you are with them you will not be using it. Now that the holidays are approaching, it is ideal to encourage leisure among them with other types of activities.
5. DON’T SPY ON HIM
Lately programs to spy on other people’s WhatsApp have become fashionable. They are usually applications that are installed on other devices and allow the last conversations that the person had on that mobile to be obtained. Other times parents simply choose to enter their children’s mobile and if they do not have a blocking password, they take the opportunity to read the messages. Isn’t it hypocritical? On the one hand we tell them that we will hold them responsible for having their own cell phone but on the other we show them we spy on their conversations because we don’t trust them. How will they feel if they find out that their conversations have been read by their parents?
If we do this, it will take a long time for the adolescent to forgive him (at best). Besides, most of them will be suspicious if they suddenly see new applications installed on their mobile (most teenagers are more knowledgeable in technology than their parents), find out and even use them for their own benefit. For example, to send false messages about something they are going to do in the afternoon when in reality they are going to do something else. If we don’t show them that we trust them, don’t be surprised if they lie to us later, since they won’t trust us either. It is logical and natural.