Children and teens today are not the only ones who are becoming obsessed with technology. Parents can also be found busily engrossed in the worlds of their mobile devices like iPods, iPhones, or iPads. Along with all of the benefits that technology has provided us, it has also made us more distracted, impatient, and inattentive. This can be a very dangerous combination for parents and children alike. It can also strain relationships or hinder their proper development.
Distracted parenting due to technology has become a growing concern of researchers. There have been multiple studies which confirm the negative impacts mobile devices have on interactions between children and distracted caregivers.
In one study, researchers secretly watched subjects at fast-food restaurants. The researchers recorded what they saw in notebooks or on laptop computers. The researchers watched a total of 55 caregivers who were eating with one or more children. Of the caregivers monitored, 40 used a mobile device at some point during the observation.
One of the overall conclusions was that caregivers were so distracted with either their mobile devices or their kids that nobody noticed that they were being watched. Equally as important, researchers found that caregivers who were the most distracted by their technology often responded harshly when a child misbehaved. They found that the biggest distraction was when caregivers were typing or scrolling through their devices. Being on the phone was less distracting as they could still maintain eye contact with their children.
Some caregivers used a device as a way to distract the kids or to correct bad behavior. They would do this by letting the child play a game or search the device. Other caregivers were so distracted by their own devices that they either responded back to the child in an angry way or responded as if they were unaware of what was actually going on.
The findings from this study raise some important red flags about how technology affects our daily lives and especially our daily interactions with children. More data is needed, but we can conclude that we need to find ways to refocus our attention on our relationships and not on technology.
How to Manage Parent-Child Relationships When Technology Gets in the Way
The number one rule in parenting is to just be present. This means not only being there physically but also mentally. Technology can often limit or reduce our mental ability to interact with and enjoy the time we spend with our children. Put those devices down even if it is only for a few minutes or a few hours a day.
Are You Concerned with the Parenting Skills of Your Ex-Spouse?
If you are concerned that your ex-spouse’s parenting skills are having a bad impact on your child, contact a child custody attorney. They will evaluate your situation and determine if you have grounds for a child custody modification case.