We often hear how children’s overuse of smartphones and other devices is responsible for a host of problems including academic underperformance and social impairment. But if you’re a parent, did you ever stop to think that your smartphone use might be causing your kids to act out?
A new study discovered that 48% of parents report technology disrupting time with their children such as during meals, playtime, or other activities more than three times a day, while only 11% of parents said this never occurs. This kind of disruption in personal time is referred to as “technoference,” the way technology use interrupts or distracts us from being fully present to the individuals around us.The study indicated that, “As technoference increased, so did children’s behavioral problems, such as whining, sulking, restlessness, temper tantrums and acting out.” Likewise, children’s own technological use increased as their parents’ use increased. The researchers noted that “even low and seemingly normative amounts of technoference were associated with greater child behavior problems.”
While technology can be helpful, and the use of technology is often necessary, it is also important to have designated times in which parents and children alike put away their devices and spend quality time with one another. Parents should be especially mindful of avoiding technoference during family meals, playtime, game nights, or other bonding activities.
Kids grow up fast. Cherish your time with them. That cat meme will still be there after they go to bed.
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