Smartphones are a part of today’s world and they are here to stay. They make life much more convenient and easy, but there are unrealized repercussions of constantly using your Smartphone with your children around. We are always checking emails and messages on our phones when we could be using that time to spend with our children.
With parents using Smartphones more than ever before, we still have kids that will watch and pay attention to everything that’s going on. They will begin to pick up the Smartphone habit early to fit in and imitate their parents. Parents may not be aware that their children are spending hours a day playing games or watching shows on tablets or Smartphones because they are so busy with their own.
There have been studies that show that children who use Smartphones do not develop intellectually as quickly as other children. Smartphones are a handy way to keep children busy while you are busy on your phone, but parents need to be more invested in their children rather than their phones.
Some parents may consider sitting next to their children while they are on their phones as spending time with their kids, but children need more interaction than that. They need parents to play games, talk with, and consult on important problems.
Children will begin to face dilemmas at school or on the playground, and they need to defer to the adults to know how exactly to behave in these situations if they are confused. In these moments, all the attention need to be on them. Children need time with their parents in order to grow and develop. Parents and children will develop close bonds in the early stages of cognitive development, but even children in late elementary school still need time with their parents in order to see how the family dynamic works. If children see that they need to compete with a Smartphone, then they will either adapt to that behavior or behave in odd ways to get their parent’s attention.
One study done by the APA (American Psychological Association) was able to conclude from data that kids will do dangerous behaviors, particularly on playgrounds, if their caregivers are distracted. These children were much more likely to walk up slides and throw sand and so other things that might hurt them.
An interview by the APA talked about how children felt about their parent’s constant Smartphone usage. Children admitted that they felt like they had to compete for their parent’s attention. This is not good for children because they need to feel like they can talk to their parents about serious things, but there is a disconnect that is beginning to result between children and parents because the parents are disconnecting from the real world in order to be on their phones.
Another study observed parents and their children while they were at restaurants. Nearly all of the parents were on their phones and nearly half of these individuals were on their phones the entirety of the meal. Even more alarming, the parents on their phones the entire time would be the harshest with their children for interrupting them.
Parents need to take charge of their phone usage and make an effort to be with their kids. If you begin to notice that you are about to scroll through your phone, evaluate if using the phone needs to be done at that precise moment. Can it wait until later? If it can, put it away. For those parents that feel like it can’t wait, try and be sure to set aside a time of day where you set the phone in another room so you won’t have easy access to your phone.
Clearly, there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Parents are dividing their attention between their phones and their kids and this is causing problems for the children who need attention in order to grow and develop properly. It’s hard for adults in this technological age to put down the phone, but it is necessary for our children. This is the time where children really need and want to be around their parents, and though technology is a wonderful thing to have, it can sometimes impede on our lives outside of the Internet or Smartphone games.