This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of TOPs Balance. All opinions are 100% mine.
Do you have a child or teen who is addicted to their mobile device? Our oldest is 15 and has a major cell phone addiction to the point that we rarely see her without it. It’s hard for her to do anything without needing to look at her phone and it can be extremely annoying at times. A rapidly growing trend of mobile device addiction has been identified, and it can be frustrating for parents. Here is how to combat mobile device addiction in teens.
Mobile Device Addiction
NBC News reports that teens spend an ‘astounding’ 9 hours a day on mobile devices. Tweens, ages 8 to 12, spend an average of 6 hours per day on theirs, according to a Common Sense Media report, a nonprofit focused on helping children, parents, teachers and policymakers negotiate media and technology. This is a HUGE technology addiction!
According to CNN, a poll was conducted for Common Sense Media, involving 1,240 interviews with parents and their children, ages 12 to 18. The results showed that 50% of teens feel they are addicted to their smartphones and 78% of teens check their devices at least hourly. 52% of the parents very often or occasionally try to cut down the time they spend on mobile devices.
I personally try not to be on my cell phone as much when I’m not working. The teen constantly has her in her hand and can’t even function without the need to respond to a text. During our 4th of July fireworks celebration she had her phone with her. I found it ironic that she was wearing a Hamilton the Musical shirt that read “Party Like It’s 1776“, so I told her to act like she was and that included NO PHONES. She wasn’t too happy.
There are ways we try to cut down the mobile device usage for our teen, including no devices at dinner. We have also found a way to at least make cell phone usage educational.
TOPs Balance (Task Oriented Passwords) App
TOPs Balance is an app aimed at off-setting the growing trend of mobile device overuse and consumption by children and teens. They have reimagined the mobile device as a powerful and effortless knowledge delivery system.
Each time a user grabs their phone, a “Knowledge Burst” is delivered before the Home screen is shown. These Knowledge Bursts are 10 seconds long and deliver grade-specific educational content. There are over 50,000 Knowledge Bursts available and content can be anything from History, Science, and Vocabulary. Other features include a unique combination of world facts and fun facts. Each burst has beautiful images and content from partnerships with content leaders such as Encyclopedia Britannica, Merriam Webster and Getty Images.
Parents set up the app first by using the easy customization and adding each child to the account. Input the child’s gender, grade level (Elementary, Middle, and High School), plus the optional Encouragement Photo. This is to personalize their TOPs Balance usage by using an image of them, or whomever you choose.
You can choose the intensity of learning by selecting either optional or mandatory delivery of Knowledge Bursts.
- Optional delivery method (low intensity) gives the user a unique prompt or persuasive option for a 10-second Knowledge Burst at every unlock screen. This is shown as a permanent notification on the device.
- Mandatory delivery method (high intensity) is a more dedicated balance strategy and requires the completion of a 10-second Knowledge Burst at every unlock prior to gaining access to the home screen.
Some of the Knowledge Bursts include a Read More button. This allows you to further explore the topic and earn more points that increase engagement. Extra TOPs button delivers more content to the user for additional learning.
Earn Points for Prizes
Points can be earned with each Knowledge Burst and exchanged for prizes. Prizes include entries into sweepstakes for Amazon gift cards and academic scholarships. You can even get a certificate of achievement of the TOPs Balance app.
How TOPs Balance Worked for Us
I have personally used the TOPs Balance app on my own phone to test it out. I really liked it. Luckily, the teen is a huge history and science lover, and this app is right up her alley. I love to hear the ‘fun facts’ she has learned and shares with us and her siblings. I had a little problem with the mandatory delivery method myself. I grab my phone many times throughout the work day. It was a slight pain to have to complete a Knowledge Burst for a quick task. I do see how that can change how often a child or teen grabs their phone throughout the day. This has come in very handy in our household.