Bad Phone Habits That Your Kids Will Pick Up On

Words by
Jana Dalby

SEP 04, 2020

Bad Phone Habits That Your Kids Will Pick Up On

We all have a few bad phone habits, but that doesn’t mean we need to pass them on to our kids. 

Bad habits you form will be noticed by your kids. Children are impressionable, unable to distinguish between helpful and harmful behaviors, and watching your every move.

Here are six bad phone habits you don’t want to pass on to your kids:

Grabbing your phone when you’re bored.

We’ve all been guilty of it: There’s nothing to do, so we whip out our phone for a quick scroll through social media. What’s the harm, right?

Every time you absentmindedly pick up your phone, your kids will notice. They’ll start to associate boredom with screens. And because kids get bored a lot, they’ll want a lot of screen time. 

How do I fix it? 

When you’re feeling bored or overwhelmed, check in with yourself. Do you need a snack? Have you exercised today? What about reading a chapter out of your favorite book? Think through your needs before you let screens steer you around


Once you’ve reigned in your phone use, it’s time to tackle your streaming habits. With so many shows and movies right at your fingertips, it’s all too easy to spend an entire day binge-watching. Chances are good that your kids will join in, and then you’ll all be hooked.

How do I fix it? 

Scheduling personal showtimes is a great way to make sure you don’t overdo it with visual media. Movie nights bring everyone together without encouraging sedentary behavior. That’s the whole point of TV time, isn’t it?

Hiding your phone use.

Kids are very observant. If you try to sneak a text while you’re driving, your kids will catch on. Sneakiness with tech can create a trust divide between parents and kids. And do you really want your kids learning your bad behavior? 

How do I fix it? 

You should be open about not only the time spent on technology, but also about the content you view. That’ll encourage your kids to do the same. Don’t you want your kids to feel comfortable coming to you about suspicious contacts or harmful content they see online? Trust gives you a chance to step in and address problems before they snowball. 

Sinking into poor posture.

Take a moment to think about your posture. Is your neck craned over your phone? Is your back hunched? Technology has led us to sink into bad posture that can cause life-long aches and pains. If you’re not watching your own posture, your kids aren’t either.

How do I fix it? 

Research what medical professionals recommend for proper sitting and standing. Whenever possible, keep your back straight and your head tall. Keep your feet firmly planted while sitting. You’ll have more energy and seem confident, which your kids are sure to notice. 

Tuning out other people.

One of the most annoying things as a parent? Your kids tuning you out in order to focus on their phones. Unlimited connectivity can corrode relationships, especially when it comes to teens.

Before you call your kids out for “phubbing” you, look in the mirror. Remind yourself that other people matter more than the latest Instagram trend. 

How do I fix it?  

Be a proactive listener. It’s not difficult to set down your electronics when someone is talking to you. Ask thoughtful, open-ended questions, and give the person you’re speaking with your full attention.

Whatever is happening online can wait. Show your kids that they take priority, and they’ll treat you the same way. If not, at least you can call them out in good conscience. 

Treating notifications as emergencies.

Smartphones are tools. If someone is having a medical emergency, then dropping everything to pick up your phone is the right thing to do. When your phone chimes with a Twitter notification is not one of those times. 

How do I fix it? 

Self-control is, paradoxically, entirely your responsibility and difficult to learn on your own. A good way to create separation between you and your device is to customize your notifications. Maybe you want your phone to ring for a call, but you don’t need a noise to tell you when your favorite celebrity their Facebook status. 

Updating your device settings is only half the battle, however. Set up technology-free times and zones in your house. Start by turning your phone off before bed, and by practicing your morning routine before answering emails or checking social media. 

Modeling is an important part of parenting. Put yourself, and by extension your kids, first. Family will always be more important than technology; make sure it shows.

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