Technology is an amazing thing. It keeps us in touch with friends and family, expands our minds with new information, and leaves it to entertain our children when we need to rest. But as adults keep arguing about how much screen time they should spend with their children, they seem to ignore an equally important question: Do parents spend too much time on their smartphones? And do addiction to devices harm their children?
While it is easy to focus on limiting time spent in front of the screen for children, there is also parental dependence on technologies that should also be addressed, especially in a world where almost half of adult smartphone users admit that they cannot imagine life without their beloved devices. .
Being physically present is not enough
It can be scary that parents in the US now spend more time with their children than in the 1960s. However, it is important to note that quality is more important than quantity - and being in the same room as a child means nothing if you only focus on your social networks.
Developmental development in childhood and adolescence is highly dependent on parent-child interactions. One of the simplest forms of interaction is what Harvard University's Emerging Children Center calls "attend and return." This means that the parent is present and responds appropriately when the baby cries, gestures or cries.
"As a pediatrician, in conversations with parents, we focus mainly on how children look at the screens. This is a great reminder for all parents to hang up and communicate with their children. It reminds me of a lot of quotes I've heard a long time ago. "Wherever you are, stay there." It's so easy to be in the same room, but don't be there while you're on the phone. "
When a parent is constantly nervous - on a smartphone or otherwise - and is unable to provide these answers, it can ultimately affect a child's physical, mental and emotional health during important stages of brain development.
A study of infants and young children affected by parents' use of smartphones found that:
Infants and young children were more distressed when their mothers used their phones.
They were less likely to explore their surroundings when their mothers used the phones.
Children whose mothers reported using most of their mobile devices in their daily lives showed a more negative and less emotional recovery when their mothers turned off their phones.
Encourage bad behavior
Children crave the love and attention of their parents, so it's probably not surprising that children who don't get such attention often take action.
When pediatrician Dr. Jenny Radesky and her colleagues worried that parents were ignoring their children when they called and began observing parents' phone use in fast food restaurants. They found out:
Children whose parents were obsessed with their structures were more likely to be dumb or noisy.
Many parents were irritated or impatient with their phones, which further encouraged their children to take action.
When children were ignored, they lost the benefits of conversation and the way they read people's facial expressions.
Fight for attention
The effects of using parents on smartphones go far beyond the years of infants and toddlers. A study in children aged 8 to 13 years found:
32% of children surveyed often felt "insignificant" when their parents used the phone during meals, interviews or other family moments.
Many felt that they were competing with technology to attract the attention of parents.
More than half of the children said that their parents spent too much time on the phone.
Hang up the phone
When you feel the need to pick up the phone, these tips will help you stay restrained and attentive:
Check in before picking up the phone. Do you want to complete a task or are you filling a small void out of boredom?
Help yourself learn from senseless scrolling by setting a five-minute alarm or using an app to help you monitor your phone usage.
Put your phone on silent mode and turn off notifications for a while with your family.
When temptation hits you, you decide to give all your attention to your children and model how to manage technology to meet everyone's needs.
Create a routine that allows you to spend time on the phone while your kids are at school or doing other activities.
As society becomes more and more dependent on technology, parental restrictions on smartphones will become more and more important.