Most people have heard about how detrimental too much screen time can be for the developing mind of a child, but it turns out that parents who are addicted to their technology may be causing harm to their children as well. It can take one second to check a notification that pops up on your phone. The problem is, as you check that notification, something else may catch your eye, and your one second has turned into ten minutes. Before you know it, you have been scrolling through social media much longer than expected!
While smartphones and tablets have certainly made life easier in some areas, they also can cause more stress, distraction, and subpar parenting. If you want to keep your children, your family, and yourself healthy, it may be time to ditch the technology – or at least cut back.
It’s easy to see why our technology can be distracting, with endless social media posts, fun games, important emails, and interesting articles. Sometimes, switching focus to your phone can even be a quick mental break. Usually, however, it ends up being a distraction. Staring at a screen breaks up normal social interactions that you might have with family. This could mean missing important conversations about your children’s day or hearing about what is on their mind.
Research has shown that you have less in-depth conversations when a smartphone is on the table. Parents who are on their phone also are less responsive to their children, or at the very least slower in responding. Parents can become even more irritable when their children interrupt their screen time. All of these distractions can lead to the children having more behavioral problems, not to mention affect your relationship.
Being constantly plugged in has been shown to be more stressful for parents. When balancing checking a phone and parenting, parents constantly feel like they are multitasking. You can have limitless conversations on your phone, and there are unlimited posts for viewing online. Not to mention stress-inducing news, upsetting work emails, or friendship dramas. Even just seeing what other parents are posting can cause parents to compare themselves and ultimately feel undue stress. If you are constantly stressed out and upset, your children will pick up on those emotions. You also may not be as emotionally available for their needs.
What Do You Do?
The simple answer is to put down the phone, tablet, computer, etc. Make time for special family moments like bedtime, breakfast, and dinner. Carve out designated time when you use your electronics, preferably when you are not spending quality time with your children. Think about why you may be using your phone. Is it because you need to, or is it mindless scrolling? If it is causing you to feel stressed out, maybe cut down on what functions you utilize. Most importantly, remember that your children do what you do, so if you are limiting their screen time, they will respond better to that request if they do not see you constantly on your phone.
Technology has made so many parts of parenting easier, but if it is affecting your relationship with your children and family, it’s time to take a harder look at your own screen time