Does My Daughter Use the Phone Too Much?


As your daughter sits on the couch, head down in her phone, do you ever wonder, “Does my daughter use the phone too much?” 


It’s questions like these, the swirl in my mind, that can cause me to struggle with my confidence as a mom. Even though my kids are all young adults, I often wonder: How’s a mom supposed to know when you’re doing it “right”?


That is one reason I have invited my friend, Arlene, to share with us today. Arlene and I having been hanging out together, recording on her podcast. If you’d like to listen in on that conversation, just click here.


Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of several books including 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom and 31 Days to a Happy Husband.  She is also the co-author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World (with Gary Chapman).  She has been a featured guest on the Today Show, Fox & Friends, Focus on the Family, and FamilyLife Today.


Here’s Arlene with Does My Daughter Use the Phone Too Much?


My eleven-year-old daughter is in love with flip phones.


During our vacation with extended family members, she discovered her aunt owns a flip phone.  They sat together for long stretches of time, pressing buttons, and taking tiny photos on the old phone.


Phones – whether they are the latest iPhone or relics from the past – seem to have a magnetic pull.


As your daughter sits on the couch, head down in her phone, do you ever wonder, “Does my daughter use the phone too much?”


It’s a valid question worth asking.


Since boredom seems to be the kryptonite of this generation, we as parents have handed over phones to our children to keep them entertained and quiet.  As a result, they’ve gotten used to the constant amusement.  Decades ago, children looked forward to watching 30 minutes of a favorite television show once a week.  The entire family gathered around a large television set to watch together.  Today kids can watch TV and videos throughout the day on demand, not with family members, but alone with a device.


Screens can be used to connect a family (talking on Skype, watching a movie together).  But more often, screens are used in isolation.


We live in a digital world.  Your daughter is surrounded by tablets, flat screens, phones, and computers.  She probably uses a tablet at school and for homework.  She’s dialed in to social media on her phone.  The problem with this is that once her brain is accustomed to technology, it’s much harder to read books, listen for long periods of time or complete homework.


Just think of yourself.  How has having a phone in your pocket with constant access to the Internet impacted your life?


Instead of reading long newspaper articles, we scan headlines and brief articles.


We’re easily distracted – did that ad say 50 percent off today only? 


We check our phone constantly, several times an hour. 


We’ve trained our brains for breadth, not depth, of information. 


We give our screens more eye contact than our family members. 




So in addition to asking, “Does my daughter use the phone too much?” you can also ask, “Do I?”


You talk to your daughter about wise limits such as keeping the phone out of the bedroom at night and no phones at the dinner table.


But if you tell your daughter one thing, and do the opposite, she is going to have a hard time hearing you.  If you check your phone at mealtimes, or constantly post photos to social media instead of just enjoying the moment with your family, she will notice.  She will watch you and pick up your habits – whether they are good or bad.


Screen time limits work best when taught and caught.


For your daughter, you can consider these questions to gauge her screen time health:


Can your child read a lengthy, age-appropriate passage with comprehension?


Can your child sit still and pay attention in school or church?


How are your child’s people skills?


Is she able to produce empathy for a friend?


Can your child read non-verbal facial expressions from other people?


Does your child show any signs of addiction?  (for example, irritation or moodiness when separated from electronics, or neglecting chores or homework because of screen time)


Is your child sleeping well each night?


Does your child get one hour of exercise each day?


It’s never too late to begin good habits that will greatly benefit your growing daughter.  I’ve written a book to help you with your digital life in the new year:  Calm, Cool, and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life.  The phone is here to stay, but it doesn’t have to be the center of your daughter’s world…or yours.


Arlene lives in the San Diego area with her husband James and their three children.  To learn more and for free family resources such as a monthly Happy Home podcast, visit









One Comment

  1. It was a joy to do the podcast with you Lynn! Thanks for all you do to help our daughters strengthen their faith and equip moms!

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