"In the eyes of a child, parents are "mean" when the child discovers that they mean what they say. "

Technology Addiction

Question

I have a 13 year old son who has had a smart phone for one year. He is an academically hard working, popular kid who enjoys being with his friends and playing baseball and football. However, his screen time on his phone has slowly been increasing from minutes to hours.I put screen time limit on his phone, but he started crying and yelling and I removed it. His screen time totals last weekend without a forced limit, I'm mortified to say were about 4 hours each day. (with it being picked up over 100 times...a feature I have just discovered) He also begged for Instagram and we gave in because all his friends have it, he felt left out, he works so hard etc.. He says he doesn't trust me because I'm always trying to check his phone and tries to hide it because he doesn't want me reading his texts. He also refuses to accept me as friend on Instagram. He also loves to play Fortnite with all of his friends. He isn't allowed to play during the week and we gave a 2 hour limit per day on weekends. However, he was irate and said he needs more time than that, we are the only parents who are so overprotective, his friends can play all they want etc...We are old fashioned, book reading, church going family and I feel I'm losing my son. He is grumpy, sometimes curt and rude towards me, bullies his two younger brothers and never communicates. Everyone tells me this is just teenage behavior and that he needs to learn how to regulate himself on these devices because how will he survive in college if he doesn't learn to choose wisely now. Should I let him try to regulate his own screen time and then, after he fails, take away screens? I'm worried that taking away everything will result in total rebellion and worsen an already flimsy mother/father/son relationship.

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