As adults, we are on our phones a lot. If we aren’t on them, they are always near. We hear that alert to let us know that somebody has texted, emailed, or commented on a Facebook post and without hesitation we check to see what’s new.
It’s become such an integral part of our lives that we don’t even realize how much we are on our phones, but our kids do. A second grade teacher asked her students to describe an invention they wished was never created. Four out of her 21 students wrote they wished cell phones were never invented because their parents were “always on their phone every day.” Another teacher commented that during a class discussion, every single one of her students said their parents spend more time on Facebook than they do talking to their child.
It made me stop and think about how much I am on my phone and what that must look like to my 17 month old. Even if I am doing quick things like checking the weather or getting directions to take her somewhere, to her I am just staring at a little screen and asking her to hold on while I finish doing whatever it is I’m doing. It got to the point that my phone would make an alert sound, my daughter would say “Uh-oh,” and then she would just leave the room.
Not to mention that my phone addiction has planted the seeds for her very own. She always wants to hold it and play on it and gets very angry when we say no or try to limit her screen time. I realized what a hypocrite I was telling her that she can’t use it while I was doing just that.
As parents, I think we can all agree that we don’t ever want our kids to feel that they are not of the utmost importance to us. But phones are getting in the way of this. They even have a name for it, "technoference," and recent research has linked children’s behavior of showing frustration, hyperactivity, whining, and sulking to parent’s screen time.
It takes effort to put the phone down, and it takes even more to just turn it off and set it aside. But guys, we are losing time with our babies because of them. They feel that our phones mean more to us than they do and that just can’t be the way it is. So make a deal with yourself that social media can wait and, unless it’s an emergency, texting can wait. Just about everything can wait, but spending time with our kids can’t.
Lisa resides in Oklahoma with her husband, daughter and Boston Terrier and has made a pact with herself to set more limits with her phone use because babies aren’t babies for very long.