Parenting While Plugged In

Hurt, Jealousy, Competition?  

Is this the type of feeling you would expect from your child as a response to your relationship with your smartphone?  For an item that has integrated itself into most aspects of our life, we should give some thought as to how it is impacting our children.  

I am guilty of using my phone to email, Facebook, and text while I am with my daughter.  I have occasionally been tugged back to reality when I spend too much time on it.  Subtle cues such as, Push me on the swing Mommy!  Or, Come and walk through the jungle forest.  I do aim to limit my time on my phone when I am with my daughter.   Our school has a "No Phone Use" policy, which helps make me more conscious of how often I use it.  On the other hand, I have also spent some of her gymnastics classes playing on my phone rather than watching her learn new skills.  

Have you looked around at any of the un-parented classes?  The majority of us parents are on our phones for most of the class.  Oops.  No wonder the kids feel hurt and jealous towards the phone.  

Our use of the phone may be affecting our children's ability to learn.  Quoting from a recent Waldorf article that appeared on Waldorf today,

"Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley's landmark 1995 book, "Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children," shows that parents who supply a language-rich environment for their children help them develop a wide vocabulary, and that helps them learn to read.

The book connects language use at home with socioeconomic status. According to its findings, children in higher socioeconomic homes hear an average of 2,153 words an hour, whereas those in working-class households hear only about 1,251; children in the study whose parents were on welfare heard an average of 616 words an hour."

This Average number of words spoken per hour decreases drastically with smart phone usage.   After studying 6 families where smartphones were frequently used, researchers saw that in most cases, the interaction between parent and child through the number of words spoken by the parent per hour, increased significantly-in at least 2 cases doubling the interaction when the phone was turned off.  In some households, the average number of words was below the 500 mark when smartphones were being used. 

All more reasons to limit the use of phones, computers, and other technology to necessary and required limits.  Perhaps I will be setting a timer for myself to limit my phone time?  

This information was originally published in a NY times article: Original article  


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