Smartphones have a similar effect to drugs. This may sound strange and morbid, but it is still true. Giving a child a smartphone is like giving him drugs. An addiction therapist from the UK has confirmed this after becoming aware of the growing dependence of teens on phones. Millions of people spend the day scrolling through the phones, hoping to see something interesting on Instagram or Facebook. This “routine” can be as addictive as drugs and alcohol.
We often talk about children’s addiction to devices and that too much time spent in front of screens affects their development. But have you ever wondered how parental dependence on phones affects them?
We constantly blame our children for the time they spend with the phone in their hand, but as parents we rarely reconsider and seldom think about how much time we have spent looking at the screen. Children whose parents spend more time in front of a screen are more likely to develop behavioral problems, according to a study of about 200 families. Of the parents who took part in the survey, 40% were mothers and 32% fathers, most admitted that they had some form of dependence on digital devices – whether it was the need to constantly check messages or social networks, thinking about calls and messages that await them or simple feeling that the phone is too often in their hands.
Experts have studied the phenomenon of “techno-conference”, which exists in the relationship between parents and children, and which means that everyday conversations, games, communication in general are often interrupted by digital devices. A quarter of the parents admitted that at least twice a day they interrupt communication or play with the child to pick up the phone.
Do you know how much time an average parent spends with the phone in their hand?
What is known from some research (several years old) is that children spend an average of about 3 hours a day using different “gadgets”. But parents use their phones even more. Adults check their smartphone at least 70-80 times a day. That means 7-8 times in an hour. And that is addiction. Some do it because they have to check the messages, others because they are waiting for a call or a message, someone is playing games, and for some social media is something they can not do without. This sounds a bit exaggerated, doesn’t it But it is so.
And now we ask you – have you ever thought about how your addiction affects children? Here’s how: Children develop a negative attitude and expressive impatience – a study has shown that parents dependence on the phone affects the child so that he has less tolerance for what is happening around him and shows no interest in exploring the world around him. Of course, the negative impact on the relationship between the child and the parents is also one of the consequences.
Children feel unimportant
Imagine, for example, a situation in which a child does something good. Let’s say he drew something for the first time, something he’s really proud of. He is excited and can’t wait to come home from school or kindergarten and show you. But when he does, he gets divided attention with a set smile and insincere admiration, you quickly turn your gaze to the phone to keep texting. How do you think the child feels at that moment? Unimportant. There will always be a feeling that you have to compete with the phone for your attention. His sense of belonging will be severely shaken and he will therefore feel less important than a device.
Influence on the emotional development of the child
When they hope for your attention but do not get it, children are sad and angry. When parents do not pay attention to the child, it becomes upset. Over time, their desire to share something with their parents becomes less and less sad. Positive emotional development is stopped. This in turn influences their behavior. Children can only grow and develop properly when they receive regular, complete and undivided attention. Although it is always easier to shift the blame to the children, the parents bear the brunt of the responsibility.
How to get rid of addiction?
You need to have a good reason for picking up the phone. Every time you reach for the phone, ask yourself why you are doing it. Do you have a really good reason? Do you have to “scroll” on social networks right now? What would be different if you did it a little later? Answering these questions will help you reduce your phone usage.
Limit smartphone usage
You probably know that there are many applications that parents use to restrict their children’s use of the phone. But you know what? You can use the same applications to set limits for yourself. The rule should apply to the whole family. Your phone is probably used for business purposes to some extent, so you may be expecting an important email or call. But make sure that it is not exactly in the half hour or hour when you are dedicated to children, and limit the use of social media for yourself and the children. You may be uncomfortable at first, but you will get used to it.