In today’s digital age, one has to ask if sometimes we can be a little too connected. In a time where human and face to face interaction is just one of many ways that people can choose to communicate, a worry is beginning to arise that some parents are choosing to forego interaction with their kids, in order to spend more time interacting with their smartphones or other mobile devices. It sounds ridiculous, but some parents seem to be more entertained by their smartphones than their kids. Forget the issues with technology being forced onto kids at too young of an age, a more pressing matter might be that kids don’t stand a chance at capturing the attention of their parents over electronics. While the idea of this sort of bad parenting is hardly anything new, with more and more smartphone advancements and options out there this is really just a different way for parents to ignore their children. Lets be clear though, there are plenty of bad parents out there that ignore their children for more time to do other things they enjoy and there has been for years, smartphones have just taken up that job now.
According to studies done by psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair, children have begun to act out against parents use of their smartphones or touch screen devices in an attempt to show their discontent with the way things are going. Children often act out in such ways when parents choose to ignore them, or when they feel that something more important is taking up their parents time and potentially ruining their relationship. Take a parent who might have a problem with smoking for example, and a child who sees the kind of damage it’s doing to them. The kid might choose to get the message across by hiding, or disposing of what can only be described as a nasty habit so that parents might understand what the kids are feeling.
According to more studies done by Steiner-Adair, she observed the way parents were interacting with their children while in fast food restaurants, discovering that most parents had engaged with their smartphones instead of their children. Her and two fellow researchers had studied a total of 55 different parents with children, and found that 40 out of the 55 pulled out their smartphone and were seemingly more interested in what was happening on screen than their own kids right in front of them. Of those 40, she says that 27% were paying attention to their phones the entire time. While it’s clear that technology has come such a long way in the last ten years and much of it for the better, there is also an apparent decline in the human interaction element of life. With so much entertainment available now at our finger tips, one hopefully knows that like with any form of entertainment, there is a good balance between interacting with the wonderful devices we use on a daily basis, and spending time with those around us who we love and cherish.