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Sep 16, 2018

According To Scientists, Parents Addicted To Their Cell Phones Affect Their Child’s Development

Cell phones have become a crucial part of our lives. In some ways, they ARE our life. Important contacts, dates, photos, etc. live on these tiny devices, and they’re our savior when stuck in a waiting room or during a long train commute.
But when you’re a parent, just how much phone time is too much? Are your nightly Candy Crush and Facebook sessions perhaps hurting your children? Scientists think so, and here’s why.

A recent study published in Child Development Magazine evaluated 170 families with at least one child that was three-years-old, which is the crucial age for emotional, liguistic, social, and behavioral development.
The researchers asked the parents to note down how many times they were interrupted while spending time with their children to respond to a call or text message. In the report, 11% said it never happened, 17% said it only happened once a day, and 48% said that their time with their children was interrupted three or more times in a day.
One of the biggest takeaways from the research is that the families with the most distractions were more likely to have children with behavioral problems such as tantrums and aggressiveness.
Other studies conducted by AVG Technologies concluded that 42% of children (4 out of 10) think their parent spends more time on their phone than with them. Scientists discovered that a parent’s dependence on their phone resulted in screen addiction among children and teens.

Other Health Effects of Too Much Screen Time
It’s clear that spending too much time in the virtual world as opposed to the real world is having detrimental effects on the health and well-being of adults, teenagers, and children. Some other negative impacts of spending copious amounts of time on our devices are:
  • Vision and eye health
  • Mental health and depression
  • Cardiovascular health and increased risk of diabetes
  • Neck, back, and other musculo-skeletal problems due to poor posture
  • Brain development and learning problems
  • Attention deficit problems
  • Sleep problems
Despite all the positive attributes to technology, it is clear that allowing it to consume your life is bad for the mental, physical, and emotional health of your entire family. The question then remains as to how to still reap the benefits of technology without letting it get in the way of a happy, healthy home.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from the Negative Effects of Technology
As mentioned already, technology isn’t all bad, but when it starts to take away from meaningful interactions with your children, something needs to change. There are many ways you can continue to enjoy technology without it taking over your family time.
1. Limit screen time for everyone.
Many parents put cap on amount of time spent on the computer or in front of the TV for their kids, but what about themselves? Creating rules for everyone in the household, including yourselves, and sticking to them, makes sure that each day you are have uninterrupted quality time with your kids.
2. No phones at the dinner table.
Dinner time is often one of the few times busy families have each day to spend together to chat, educate, and share stories about their day. Having phones, TV, or other forms of tech at the table leads to distraction and discourages important conversation.

3. Pick other activities instead of movies.
While family movie night is fun and can be a lovely way to spend a quiet evening in, the reality is that watching movies doesn’t promote conversation or interaction. Instead, why not replace family movie night with a games night? This not only provides more opportunities for parents and children to talk, but also helps build family traditions and memories that will last far longer than a film.
4. Get outside… and leave the phones at home!
Take time each weekend to get out and do something as a family, whether it be a hike, playing ball at the park, or going bowling or indoor mini-golf if the weather doesn’t cooperate and leave all forms of technology at home, or at least in the car. Without the option of checking texts, emails, or Instagram feeds, everyone is free to be fully present in the moment and enjoy each others company.
5. Put the phone on airplane without going anywhere.
If you find it extremely difficult to ignore your phone anytime you hear a “ping!”, set it to airplane or silent mode at least until the kids are off doing their homework or gone to bed.
What do you think? Do you pay more attention to your children during the day then reserve your phone time during later hours, or do you find yourself being distracted and pulled away by messages when you’re trying to spend more time with your kids? Does this affect your family and home life in any way?

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