It’s becoming more and more difficult to put our phones down as we interact with people around us.
It's creating problems in our interpersonal relationships, interactions and even the time we spend together; affecting our children the most.
Allow me to introduce you to the definition of “Technoference”- when individuals take their attention away from people around them to check their phone or electronic devices.
The first step is to recognize how our virtual world has real consequences on our children and ourselves.
Let me help you explore important reasons to avoid constantly being on your phone for your child's sake.
1. Kids can feel we’re more interested in our phones than we are interested in them.
According to a study by AVG technologies, “children feel unimportant when their parents use their cell phones during meal times, conversations, TV watching and playing outside.”
By being on our phones while our children are nearby playing or eating, we’re behaving in a way that tells them they don’t matter. Basically, our phones are more interesting than they are.
This thinking leads to behavioral problems. Children then tend to engage in negative attention-seeking behavior causing parents to negatively respond, often snapping at them. When all of that could've been avoided.
A study published by the journal Child Development stated that, "Parents being on their phones also correlates with young children being more prone to restlessness, frustration, whining, sulking and anger outbursts."
2. Children are missing out on important developmental milestones.
Children develop language skills and learn about the world through face to face interactions, eye contact, touching and by watching us. They are watching how we have conversations and how to read facial expressions. This is simply not happening if we’re on our phones.
3. Being on our phones affects our moods, which in return affecting our children.
A study showed that parents emotional response is altered depending on what they’re doing on the phone. For example, reading bad news on their phones affected how they responded to their children.
Your mood may also be altered when you’re trying to get something done on your phone. A part of your brain is engaged with a sense of urgency to get the task completed, to stay focused on what you’re doing, and a sense of time pressure. So you're more irritable when interrupted by your child.
4. Blurred expectations for your kids of when it's okay to use electronic devices.
As your kids are beginning to use electronic devices, you need to set expectations early on. You are their role model. Set boundaries for yourself that children can also follow. For example, at dinner time, no electronic devices.
Newborns don’t count right??
Let’s remember the newborn stage. You’re nursing/bottle feeding while on your phone. No harm right? Think again…
In the journal of Translational Psychiatry, “scientists show that distracted parental attention may sometimes have detrimental effects on babies’ development, especially their ability to process pleasure.”
It’s important to remember, a bond is created when a newborn stares into their mother’s eyes. They even develop social information that way.
SO why exactly are we letting our phones take precedent over our children?
Two words, dopamine effect. Neurotransmitters send pulses to your brains reward and pleasure system with every new notification/text.
You become addicted to that momentary pleasure. This has been compared to the same cravings of gambling and nicotine. It is an addiction.
Internet companies have learned what tobacco industries have always known, addiction drives more business.
How is this affecting us physically and mentally?
Looking down at our phones gives us “tech neck”.
Disrupt sleep patterns
Make you distracted and irritable
Triggers depressive symptoms
What do we need to do now that we know all of this?
Instead of wandering around in a guilty fog, implement some of these mindful approaches.
1. Give your kids 15 minutes of undivided attention twice a day.
Free yourself of your phone and go into their world. Enjoy talking and playing with them-no interruptions. This will strengthen your emotional connection and promotes positive attention.
2. Download an app to monitor time usage on your phone.
This was extremely eye opening for me! I tried a few apps and I only liked “Moment”.
Moment is an iOS app that automatically keeps track of how much you use your iPhone each day. You can even set daily limits on yourself! It’ll notify you if you go over.
3.“Do Not Disturb” is available on your phone!
It’s an easy way to silence calls, alerts, and notifications. You can even choose who you’ll allow calls from!