Smartphone Use and Your Child….
I listened to a program on NPR that gave me food for thought, but also concern a growing trend in the world today. Smartphones and other electronic devices are usurping parent/child time. Apparently, it is not just children that overdue screen time. According to the report I heard this morning, parents are often just as guilty of overuse of electronic apparatus – – too much time checking e-mails and text messaging – – and not enough time with the kids. Experts say that the consequences could be far reaching.
With the parents’ nose on the screen, even during a family outing, the kids are likely to act out and seek the attention of the parent who is reading emails or in some cases, watching programming on a tiny screen instead of playing with the children or simply enjoying their company.
NPR quotes a Dr. Jenny Radesky who is a pediatrician specializing in child development. Radesky worked at a clinic in a high-tech savvy Seattle neighborhood, she started to notice that often parents ignored their kids in favor of a mobile device. According to NPR, she remembers a mother placing her phone in the stroller between herself and the baby. “The baby was making faces and smiling at the mom,” Radesky says, “and the mom wasn’t picking up any of it; she was just watching a YouTube video.”
As parents we know that interacting with our children is extremely important, the relationship we establish with them when they are young will carry them through their developing years and it is important that we maintain good lines of communication with them. Face-to-face interaction between parent and child the primary way children learn interpersonal relationships, but also language, how to express emotion and how to express them properly.
I am by no means suggesting that parents turn back the clock and ignore smartphones and other electronic devices; I am merely suggesting that we learn to regulate our use of these wonders of technology and instead invest more time with our children while we can. Take a child to the park and them burying your nose on the screen of your Smartphone is not quality time spent with your child.
We often encourage parents to spend more time with their children, to use their growing years to develop strong relationships with them that will carry them through the school years. A strong parent/child relationship could very well shield the child from strong, adverse influences they might encounter as they grow up.
Take the time as a parent to love, your child and spend with them the time they deserve. It will be a good investment in their future as well as in yours. The email and the texting can wait.
I am Attorney Martin E. Regan, Jr. and these are my personal thoughts….