Is your phone between you and your child?
Recent data shows 92% of U.S. adults now have a cellphone of some kind, and 90% of those cell owners say that their phone is frequently with them. At times when we should be laughing and enjoying the company of friends and family, our phones create distractions that take us out of these special moments. Fully 89% of cellphone owners say they used their phone during the most recent social gathering they attended according to Pew Research.
In a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics, caregivers were observed using devices during a meal. The dominant theme salient to mobile device use and caregiver-child interaction was the degree of absorption in devices caregivers exhibited. Absorption was conceptualized as the extent to which primary engagement was with the device, rather than the child, and was determined by frequency, duration, and modality of device use; child response to caregiver use, which ranged from entertaining themselves to escalating bids for attention, and how caregivers managed this behavior; and separate versus shared use of devices. Highly absorbed caregivers often responded harshly to child misbehavior.
Researchers in this study noted, “Many of the caregivers pulled out a mobile device right away. They looked at it, scrolled on it and typed for most of the meal, only putting it down intermittently.”
As parents we are our children’s first role model, from a young age our kids mimic what they see us saying and doing. As they become older and are developing a sense of self our time with them feels precious and important.
Distractions from cell phones or work give our children negative messages. We teach them that they must always be on and available, that personal time or family time is not a priority. We also miss on those small special moments that help foster family bonds between parents and children.
In our fast-paced modern world, it’s important to show we can slow down and spend undivided attention with our children, that our relationships are important. If you feel like your family isn’t connected as well as you would like, stop and consider how screens play apart.
Do you have dedicated time, unplugged, for family activities where you can be present and enjoy something together? Are you as a parent making time to be participate in moments that are important to your child? At Summerland Camps, we help parents change their families’ relationship with technology.