Written by Liza John
When was the last time when you were in a conversation, and someone checked their phone in between? It is safe to assume that it was not too long ago. Now when was the last time you did the same? The answer more or less remains the same. This shows that all of us find it increasingly difficult to stay away from our gadgets for a long duration.
How does this affect your parenting? Before getting back home from work, you have at least two new emails, three urgent texts, and four friends calling to catch-up with you. In your attempts to manage everything, your child misses out on your undivided attention. How does this impact your relationship with your child?
When technology has advanced enough to let you manage all your tasks on your phone, it is only natural that you rely on them more often. Be it checking the weather or responding to your boss, the convenience of technology has resulted in users being anxious if they are not able to use their phones often.
When you do this, you fail to keep your work away from home and miss out on important family time. Separating work, social life, and family from each other is essential. Letting them overlap can only result in increased stress and poor relationships.
Trying to keep them apart can be difficult but is definitely worth it. You will find more peace at home and feel more functional when you succeed in doing so. This can also teach your kids how to healthily balance between various spheres of life.
Unlimited usage of gadgets often results in poor face-to-face communication skills in growing children and parents as well. In times of need, when kids see their parents in front of a screen, they find it difficult to open up and have a proper conversation. This makes you lose out on key parenting moments.
Moreover, research also suggests that children from families with high screen time show increased attention-seeking behaviour. Parents from such families also respond more negatively to bad news from their children and tend to snap at them more often.
Studies have shown that children growing up in this tech-savvy age are much less empathetic and creative. They also show that unsupervised use of social media has caused children to be more aggressive and prone to bullying than the kids growing up a decade ago. Children who have been exposed to technology also have a lower attention span and look for instant gratification.
Failing to receive due attention from their primary caregivers greatly affects children. They are more likely to be socially withdrawn and feel isolated in general. This is because they feel irrelevant in their parent’s lives. Gadget happy parents raise children who feel detached from society. These kids also have very low self-esteem and feel inadequate. As they grow into adults, their bonds with the family get weaker.
Getting Back in Touch with Family
Once you have realized the havoc that excessive use of technology wrecks in your life, there are many ways to reconnect with your children. Completely eradicating the use of gadgets sound unrealistic but here are some ways to moderate your family’s use of technology:
- Establish shorter screen time with long breaks in between. Make sure that both the kids and the parents stick to the schedule. Doing so can reduce screen anxiety in individuals.
- Spend some quality time with the whole family without involving gadgets. Make a tradition out of it — it can be dinner, game night, or even a walk.
- Step away from using phones at least an hour before bedtime. Reading to young children is a fun activity that can be extremely beneficial for both the parent and the child.
- Give your children unsupervised access to the internet after the age of 11.
Allowing technology to take up most of your time and attention can directly affect your parenting. Even though the use of technology is inevitable today, one can always moderate the usage. Letting the kids stay on their gadgets for hours on end can adversely affect them in the long run. Parents should be good role models for their children to stay away from the screens. Always remember that physical presence alone does not strengthen bonds between parents and kids.