How to get Boomers to stop staring at their phones – The Washington Post

    “My mother has become very attached to her phone over the last five years. Whenever we’re together, she’s often on her phone, usually scrolling through social media,” says Angela, 37, who declined to use her last name to avoid hurting her parents’ feelings. “It really only bothers me when my children are around because they’re often trying to get her attention, and she’s unaware they’re trying to get her attention because she’s on her phone.”

    The rest, however, are absorbed in their devices. They are playing Words with Friends, Candy Crush and card games, often with the volume turned up. They are looking at the news, checking sports scores, scrolling Facebook and texting. Some are even using them as actual phones.

    “My 75-year-old Vietnam vet dad, who once called smartphones ‘a time waster’ in 2009, today has his Bluetooth hearing-aid connected to his phone and his truck,” says McClure, who lives in Tennessee with his family. “Honestly, his iPhone may as well be a Borg implant the way he lives with it like a teenager.”

    Not all screen time is the same. Sometimes the additional minutes spent staring is them figuring out the phone itself. Angela’s father is better about his screen time than her mom is, but he still takes 10 minutes to write each text message. (He signs them all, “XO.”)

    “They’re spending more time on just looking at their phone just figuring out what they’re actually looking at,” says Abbie Richie, the founder and CEO of tech-support company Senior Savvy. “For the first couple of seconds, an older adult really needs to figure out what they’re seeing. They have to process it. Their time on the device is longer because of the processing required.”

    Many grandparents may struggle to keep up physically or talk to their grandchildren. Emily Lakdawalla says her parents are pretty good about not using their phones in family situations, but her dad still does not interact much with the two grandkids, ages 13 and 16. “He just stands in the kitchen and smiles bemusedly at them,” she says.

    Depending on your budget, buying them a smartwatch like the Apple Watch is another option. It lets users glance at incoming messages and news alerts without the danger of getting distracted by other apps on the phone. You can show them how to use screen-time tools on their devices. If they are not aware of the problem, a weekly report spelling out how many hours they spent scrolling might be a wake-up call.

    You can also teach them to use “Do Not Disturb” modes so when they are playing with kids — whether it is kicking a ball or watching YouTube videos of professionals kicking balls — they are not going to be distracted.

    “My daughter has learned to entertain herself when she’s visiting,” says Andrea Button-Schnick, whose stepmother is either working or trading gossip about her small town on her phone. “But she enforces the rule that dinner time is no-phone-grandma time.”

    This content was originally published here.

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