🌈 10 Creative & Fun Ways to Elevate Smartphone Safety at School & Home πŸ πŸ“š

Rather than banning phones, you can start with just a few simple tweaks to make them safer for you and your family. Here’s what I do:

  • Learn How It Pulls Your Strings 🎭: Check out “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix to find out how phones manipulate you (and your kids!) into constantly picking them up. Once you know how it’s done, it’s much easier to fight back.

 

  • Zen No Notifications πŸ”•: The problem isn’t the phone so much as it is the phone controlling you. The first thing professional tech people do is switch off all notifications. That way, you get to control when you look at the phone, rather than the phone controlling you. The only ones I leave on are Messager notifications and only those from my wife, daughter, mum, & brother.

 

  • Learn What the AI Can Do πŸ€–: When you see what images and AI can create, you’ll never quite believe your eyes again. So, have a look at what the AIs are capable of, so you’ll get a better feel for what’s real or fake.

 

  • Share Your Screen Time πŸ•’: Kids don’t listen to what we say; they copy what we do. So, set a date at least once a week (or maybe once per day?) where you share your screen time with your kids and they share theirs with you! That keeps both you & the kids accountable, and you learn what habits you need to adopt to become a better role model. Monkey see, monkey do!

 

  • Screen Together πŸ“Ί: If it’s raining outside and you have to use screens to wind down, do them together. Play the kids’ computer games with them, watch a family movie together. Remember, kids don’t really care what you do with them; they just want to do it with you. (This tip also works for cleaning too!)

 

  • Smell the Bacon πŸ‘ƒ: I’m in a coffee shop right now, and there are at least five different sets of parents playing Baby Shark at the same time on their kids’ phones. (I’m in the UK too, so they have it on speaker with no headphones!) Why? Because if the adults are all talking, it’s boring! So, if you’re out with the kids, feed their sense of curiosity. “What sounds can you hear in here?” “Wow, what smells are those coming from the kitchen?” “How many people are smiling?” etc. etc. or, of course, bring along some analogue games (Story Cubes are also great!).

 

  • Curate Your Feed 🌸: Ideally, you’d just delete your social media apps (see the first point above!). But if you really have to have them, then curate your and your kids’ feed. Go through with them, liking and sharing the fun, positive, interesting, curious, enlightening posts so the algorithm learns that’s what you want and shows you more of it. My YouTube shorts feed is just cool music production tips, which is great; my TikTok is just rubbish junk, so I never watch it!

 

  • Downstairs Charging πŸ”Œ: You need more sleep. So, just charge your phones downstairs overnight. You’ve already switched off notifications (see tip 2 above!), so you can just leave the phone app on ringer if you really like, in case there are any emergencies. (But if you’re all at home, what real emergencies could there be?)

 

  • Don’t Be a Grandma, Mute It πŸ‘΅: If you’re under 50, this one goes without saying: always leave your phone on silent mode. No one needs to hear that 1990s ringtone anymore. 😁

 

  • Tool It 🎹: The real benefit of mobile phones is that it’s a powerful computer in your pocket. It’s more powerful than what NASA used to send rockets to the moon. So, delete the social media and use it for something useful that only a phone can do. Want to edit movies? Download that app! Want to get perfect pitch? There’s an app for that too. Curate the apps you have, so it becomes not a social media manipulator but a really powerful tool that you can use!

Good luck, and let me know what you think of the points!

Be genki,

Richard

P.S. Β A few other tips for teachers and school managers:

  • Given that banning ends up throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and that social media AI is too advanced for any individual human to fight against, what other forms of motivation can we use, just like we did with the alphabet and books (all of which were controversial in their time!), and other technologies in the past?
  • To drill it down for individual teachers, how can we make our lessons more engaging than any social media content?
  • And for schools, what behavior do we actually want from students?
  • How can we structure things so this happens? Β Again, if the first reaction is “ban,” then we’re going to lose. How could we use things like Maslow, Cialdini, nudge theory, etc., to make it work for us?

 

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. When I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. Now I help teachers just like you teach amazing lessons and double your incomes!