Your Children Vs Your Smartphone: Who Is Winning?
In the past, studies have been conducted on the effects of smartphones on the development and wellbeing of children and teenagers, and it is evident that screen time for underage persons should be limited in the interest of the health of the youth. Now it is becoming clear that parents should exercise the same principle of restraint for themselves when it comes to their smartphones, in the interest of their relationship with their children.
The one invention children wish didn’t exist
Research is showing that the parents who spend a lot of time preoccupied by screens are experiencing increasingly difficult relationships with their children. Moreover – and this is heart-breaking – children have been admitting they resent their parents’ phones. According to BBC, Jen Adams Beason, a Louisiana teacher, posted an assignment by one of her pupils on Facebook, which stated, “If I had to tell you what invention I don’t like I would say that I don’t like to phone. I don’t like the phone because my panert are on their phone every day. A phone is sometimes a really bad habit. I hate my mom’s phone and I wish she never had one. That is an invention that I don’t like.” Beason revealed that 4 out of her 21 students share the child’s sentiment.
The image and accompanying message has been shared thousands of times on social media, and warning bells are ringing for parents worldwide.
An ongoing bad habit
Studies conducted on the topic indicates that children whose parents are constantly preoccupied with their cellphones are losing out on quality time with their parents, and that, if this habit is continued, the relationship could become strained as time went by. This is due to the fact that children aren’t receiving the level of attention from their parents that they require. On both sides, the resulting behavior is not conducive to healthy relationships, because in this cycle, parents become irritated more easily when their children try to get their attention, and the children are more likely to misbehave.
Aside from not engaging enough with their little ones, parents who are busy with their smartphones are also most likely to exhibit hostile reactions when their kids try to get their attention. This also tends to cause children to feel neglected and experience frustration. Different behavioral issues can result from this, including tantrums and hyperactivity.
Moreover, studies are showing that parents spend up to nine hours a day staring at various different kinds of screens, tearing them away from healthy family activities with their children. This kind of “technoference” – defined by the journal Pediatric Research as “everyday interruptions in face-to-face interactions because of technology devices” – is definitely coming between parents and their children. Those parents who experience disappointment with parenthood often opt to distract themselves with their devices instead of addressing the reason for their feelings.
It is important that parents understand the severity of this situation, as it can have lasting consequences. Quality time as a family must be prioritized, as this is crucial to a child’s healthy development and to the relationship between a parent and a child. Especially when it comes to young children, parents need to create a healthy work-life balance and ensure they set a good example when it comes to technology usage. This will become even more important later on, when children need to decide for themselves how they will spend their time and make use of technology. Click here to find out more about iPhones addiction in teenagers and how it is becoming a serious societal issue in 2018.
Fun activities to do as a family include reading with your children, playing their favorite games or board games with them, constructing things, painting or drawing and making up songs. Click here to find out more about children’s take on their parent’s smartphone usage.