A letter of advice (3B Hau Ming Yan, Dora)


Dear frustrating,

We can understand why you may be worried about your brother’s issue. It’s good that you want to take action. This means you know the consequences of being addicted to social networking sites. We can feel your worry that his relationship between your family will be ruined. Taking away your brother’s mobile phone and limiting his screen time are indeed effective ways to stop his addiction before it is too late. However, these methods may be too harsh on your brother and backfire. This even might actually ruin your relationship with him! Here are some tips we hope can help:

Take him out of the cyber world

Forcing your brother to leave the zone immediately may not be able to actually solve the issue since he is addicted to it and rely on it. Don’t tackle it directly. Instead, start using an indirect method. You can try taking him away from the online world, and let him enjoy the reality. You might find it difficult to convince him to stop using his phone. Bring him out to go anywhere fun but set a rule ―― he is not allowed to use his phone while enjoying the day. Promise him that he can have his phone back at the end of the day so that he won’t feel that he is controlled by you or your father. This way he can concentrate and have fun that day without distracted by the phone. You can try this tip a few more times but not frequently, so that he wouldn’t feel bad that you are trying to reduce his screen time. After all, everything has its own progress.

Divert his interest, cultivate another interest

To look for other interests, you have to first take him away from his beloved social networking sites. In this case, you may work on this tip with the first tip. Having another interest can make his teenage life more fruitful. You may wonder where to start finding other interests that he likes. You can start from what he used to like before getting addicted to social networks. This may help him recall his memory and find the lost part of him. Although this may not work successfully as spending much time on social media is what stopped him from his past hobbies, you may try from something he likes now.

Since he likes visiting social media so much, he might be interested in related topics or interests. Is he trying to be a YouTuber or a vlogger? Is he trying to make a social networking site? Don’t worry, it takes time to discover. Remember, whatever he wants to develop, try support and encourage him. Let him know that his family will always have his back. 

Limit screen time by himself

An essential element to quit the addiction is to develop self-control. Time management is important in doing everything so it would be a great chance to develop time management skill. Since it is no use dealing with the problem passively, then the problem can only be solved in a straightforward way.

You may set time limit on social media apps with him together. Having someone accompany him on his way of quitting addiction will give him the force to actually quit. Start from limiting the time to 5 hours, then after a month, limit it to 4 hours, then 3 hours, vice versa.

Reducing the time spending on social networking sites gradually can give him less pressure on quitting addiction. If your brother finds it difficult to control the time by himself, you can lend him a hand and check on him regularly while giving him just a bit of pressure on controlling him. Sometimes, making good use of outer support is a good way to help him.

Hope that helps, Friend of a Friend