We all love our smartphones, but we also can’t deny how addictive they are. Whether it’s scrolling through Instagram or mindlessly reading tweets, our phones are a great way to zone out. If you’re bored and alone, this may not be that big of a deal. But for parents, not being able to get off the phone and have a conversation with your kids can have long-term, harmful effects. Based on a recent poll, it turns out that phone addiction affects 69% of the parents surveyed.
Sitting at a Restaurant, Quietly Scrolling
You’ve probably gone to a restaurant where you sat next to a family with the kids playing games quietly on their iPads while their parents were on their phones, scrolling and texting. While this is great for quiet dining, it does make you wonder, “Why bother going out and spending time together if everyone is going to be doing their own thing?”
We’ve all heard of the studies that say kids are having a harder and harder time communicating in person. They have trouble making connections and relating to each other. They have trouble with face-to-face interactions, like dating and being interviewed. Could it be that we learn interpersonal relations as children? And that faces in screens are not he same as face-to-face conversation? Turns out, yes, to both questions.
Good Role Models
Children look to their parents on what to do and how to behave appropriately in society. If they see their parents on their phones all the time, kids will copy that behavior. If a child is looking for some parental attention and is met with inattention, that becomes normal. The child will learn to treat others the same way.
Phone Addiction is Real… for Everyone
Of course, a survey don’t speak for the population as a whole. But it is important for parents (and adults in general) to understand that phone addiction isn’t just a kid thing. We may be more mature and have our priorities straight, but the designers of smartphones and apps want us to use them a lot. If we want to make sure that our kids grow up to be functioning adults who don’t have crippling social anxiety, are able to have an in-person conversation and don’t use the digital world as their escape, we need to talk to them. We, as adults, need to model appropriate behavior, which includes breaking away from Facebook to spend time eating and chatting with our kids.