It’s no secret that cell phones have taken over almost everyone’s attention; a study explained on CNBC noted that children are getting cell phones now between the ages of 10 and 12, but some studies are even showing that children are getting cell phones as early as 6 years old. Teenagers are constantly using their phone for interacting in social media apps and games, and adults are using their phones now more than ever to find directions, access banking information, conduct business, and so much more. Much of our attention is focused on children because it has been shown to impact their stress levels, depression, anxiety, and more – but what about parents? How are children impacted by parents who are addicted to their phones?

A 2017 study conducted by researchers from Illinois University and the University of Michigan Medical School aimed to examine the links between parental technology use and parent-child interactions and child behavior. The study identified the interactions as “technoference” – a term to identify when a person checks their phone amidst conversation. Forty percent of mothers and 32% of fathers reported problematic use of their digital technology resulting in “technoference” with their children.

Mothers experienced higher internal and external behavior problems from their children than fathers; it was suggested that children are spending more time with their mothers and therefore desire more connection. Internal and external problem behaviors exhibited by children were not being able to sit still, behaving restless or hyperactive, being easily frustrated, “whining”, “sulking”, and being “hypersensitive”. What does this say about parental phone addiction? It is causing our children to feel unwanted and unheard. It is causing our children to compete with technology for our attention. Technology can be used in wonderful ways but just like anything else, too much can be damaging to both our mental health and those around us.

Make the decision to stay more connected with your children. Set designated times that you will use technology. Follow any technology rules that you place for your children. Encourage interaction with one another through board games, sports, activities, etc. As Brandon McDaniel, family and consumer sciences assistant professor stated for The Guardian,

Yes, you’re going to be distracted sometimes, but we need to try to minimize those distractions, realizing that your children are not always going to be little.”





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