Parenting and Family

The power of the (phone) screen

The screen…

My daughter Mariam is 13 years old now mashallah; for the last 3 years she’s been begging, literally, for a phone… I’m entirely against the idea of people in this age group having phones for the obvious reasons…

But it gets to a stage when as a parent you have to know when to “stretch that line” outside of your values and comfort zone yourself…otherwise the child will break… or even break the line themselves! And it gets very dangerous when they break the line themselves… our stubbornness as parents in our values is not a good thing sometimes, it can actually be worse in the bigger scheme of things… so we need to assess each situation and be careful…

So when every single person in her class has a phone and she doesn’t, when she kept asking for years almost daily and crying often to get one; that’s a breaking point… I stretched it for as long as I could and Alhamdulilah recognised when I couldn’t anymore… so we bought her a phone earlier in the year…

Parenting is really tough… and sometimes as parents we can make choices we don’t like; but even when this is the case; we *still* have a responsibility…

So we got her a phone and put these conditions:

1. She cannot take her phone to school (phones aren’t allowed at her school anyway) – except on special occasions (class party, excursion, etc)

2. Her phone cannot be in her bedroom at sleeptime

3. She’s only allowed 1-2 hours a day on it… generally after school and after her homework and studying is done

4. No social media (except one; she chose Snapchat) – however we discovered she had an insta account later and the phone was confiscated for a month…

5. We kid-proofed her phone so she can’t access inappropriate sites or content (this is a helpful site that will help you do this https://amp.commonsense.org/…/3b1ccbae-cec5-4228-a52f-a5a45…)

6. We know all her phones passwords (so we can access it too anytime)

But even with these rules; it’s not rainbows and flowers… the struggle is real… And these rules sometimes get broken and we keep doing what we can to reinforce them… but parents and caregivers must have rules as a guiding standard… and as a protection… it’s not easy… but our children’s lives, mental heath, safety and wellbeing are paramount so we need to fight the fight; with love, patience, dua and wisdom…

So please please please… if your child has a phone, tablet, etc don’t allow them on their phone free range!

You need to put rules and more importantly; follow through to make sure these rules are implemented (hardest and most important part!)… rules that your kids will obviously hate or even hate you for it (ideally they shouldn’t hate you they should just hate the rule lol *see teens post from yesterday)

Also if your child has their phone 24/7 and now you want to impose rules; be warned… you’ll get resistance… it was easier for us because these conditions were discussed and approved with Mariam *prior* to buying the phone… but if this is not in your case it’s still not too late… sit them down and have a “family meeting”; explain your concerns, the whys, reassure them, speak with loving language yet a firm tone (remember you’re not taking their permission to do this but informing them of a tarbiyah decision gently)… you are the parent, reclaim your honourable duty ✊🏾… and then discuss their new phone plan…

May Allah make it easy for all parents out there… doing the right thing in a world that operates on all wrong systems is really hard… For a while I even blamed all the parents of the kids in her class for getting their kids phones at that age in the first place and making it harder on the rest of us! Hence why we all need to continue to raise awareness and support each other in doing the good… and in Sha Allah you’ll be rewarded for persevering and for your parenting…

×