Children have never been easy to raise but in the era of digital devices and social media, it can be more difficult. Despite being able to sit a small child in front of their favorite television show or a digital game and successfully distract them for twenty minutes, studies have shown that relationships between parents and kids are at a low point. It appears that although technology makes it easier to get our kids to behave, we are losing our bond with them.
Digital device usage is fine in small amounts but studies have shown that the more time you spend in front of a digital screen, the more likely you are to gain and weight and have lower mental health. We need to stop our children spending so long on digital devices as it is particularly detrimental at a young age. Unfortunately one of the reasons that children spend so much on time on devices is that it is a learned behavior from their parents. One study has shown that there was a direct correlation between the types of devices parents own and how long they use them for how their children interact with screens and for how long.
It is easy to point the finger and blame parents for how much a child uses a device however sometimes depending on your situation or your career avoiding device usage is impossible. We don’t use devices to gossip and play games they are used for important work and life tasks that we can’t do without. Yet we should not let them interfere during important family time.
A study of 6,000 kids showed that 33% felt undervalued when their parents used a device during family situations like dinner, conversations and more. It is well covered in research that children will succeed in life when they feel comfortable. Being able to establish a strong bond is important for them to feel comfortable in their home.
While many of the applications on our phones are there to connect us, they can often alienate others. A key finding that came out of the study was the importance of being present. It is vital that when we spend time with our children and show them how important they are to us by putting our phone away. This is a learned behavior that they must adopt. A common solution is to have a set time during the day when you will not look at your parents and the same is expected of your children. You can let people know at work that you are not contactable during these hours. While it may seem like a draconian method, it has proven to work. Although in the beginning, you will have low levels of anxiety about what you are missing, these will soon pass. Instead, you will be left with a feeling of peace and a strong bond with your children.