But how do we survive without this life line?
“How was school?”
“What did you do?”
Let me guess, at this point you are pulling your hair out wondering why your little daughter/son won’t talk to you. After all, they’ve been at school or day care all day. And aren’t they supposed to start ignoring you when they are teenagers? Not when they are six.
Well, sorry to be the one to tell you, but that’s your fault.
New research has revealed another thing for parents to feel terribly guilty over.
After stalking parents and their kids at restaurants and fast food outlets, the Boston Medical Centre team found that parents who use their mobile phones have negative interactions with their kids.
Meaning that your child feels they have to compete with your Facebook habit.
And because they bug you while you are reading the status update of the 'friend' who you would never say hi to in the street, you get cranky and tell them to be quiet.
Yep, it's true. Mobile phones are killing our relationships, including those with our kids, and making us all cranky parents.
During their observations, the team saw:
One child reached over in an attempt to lift his mother’s face while she looked down at a tablet, but to no avail.
Another mother kicked her child under the table in response to the child’s various attempts to get her attention while she looked at her phone.
A father responded in curt and irritated tones to his children’s escalating efforts to tear him away from his device.
The results of the study has Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson of Seattle Children’s Hospital say, “that’s simply unfair to the children". The study emphasised that kids learn by watching us, so that meltdown they had when you interrupted them for dinner while they were on your iPad...that's your fault too.
Okay, we get it. Mobile phones and technology aren't really connecting us better with people in real life (but it definitely helps us know a lot about people we would never talk to).
But they are also a life line to parents.
They give parents access to a world of information. There are Facebook groups where parents can debrief, seek advice and share tips on how to make it through the day.
They also give parents some much needed me-time (even if that only exists for the 5 minutes your children don't find you hiding in the bathroom scrolling through Instagram).
So instead of feeling the guilt and vowing to give up your phone (because that is as unlikely to happen as telling little John that Minecraft is for Sundays between 1pm and 2pm only), instead try have a time of day when you, the kids, and your partner put down the technology. The study recommends meal times as the best option.
What do you think? Do you think you are a worse parent because of your phone addiction?
And look, if you desperately want more time on your phone, download one of these apps for your child...they'll give you time to scroll through Facebook, and keep the kids from bugging you. SCROLL THROUGH the gallery for 17 awesome apps for school-aged kids.
Want more? Try:
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