Parents, Step Away From Your Smartphones

Photo (cc) by ClearFrost

Mom and Dad, is it time you disconnect from your mobile devices and reconnect with your children?

It’s a loaded question that’s ignited some fiery debate among parents, like the infamous “Dear Mom on the iPhone” post, which says in part:

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time.

Because they know …

You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime.

And responses like, “Dear Mom on the iPhone: You’re Doing Fine”:

But you’re not watching … because you’re on your phone — checking Facebook, email or Pinterest. You’re not watching … because you just spent every waking hour before arriving at the park watching everything your child did. Every. Little. Thing.

A recent Washington Post opinion piece by Colorado pediatrician Jane Scott said this generation of parents is likely the most involved and informed in history:

And, yet, in the company of their children, they often act as though they’d rather be someplace else. That’s what they’re saying when they break eye contact to glance at their push notifications or check Facebook when they think their child’s distracted. The parents are present, their attention is not.

Earlier this year, a study by researchers from Boston Medical Center that observed caregivers and their children at a restaurant found that 40 of the 55 caregivers used mobile devices. What’s more, it appeared that their “primary engagement was with the device, rather than the child.” When the children tried to get the adults’ attention, that was usually met with irritation, or worse.

“One female adult kicked a child’s foot under the table; another female caregiver pushed a young boy’s hands away when he was trying to repeatedly lift her face up from looking at a tablet screen,” the report said.

Scott wrote that when parents communicate to their children that they are less important than whatever the parents are doing on their smartphone or iPad, it has an impact. She said she’s seen firsthand the temper tantrums, separation anxiety and disciplinary issues that are a result of parents’ inattention to their children.

Scott ended her thought-provoking post with this:

In an era of constant distraction, we must decide what’s more important: heeding the constant ping of our devices, or telling our children, in word and deed, “I am listening. I am here. And there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”

As a parent, I struggle with this issue myself. I use and check my cellphone throughout the day. And in addition to being a stay-at-home mom, I also work from home, so I spend a few hours a day on my laptop. Sure, I try to do the bulk of my writing when the kids are napping or in bed for the night, but that’s not always possible.

It can be challenging to balance my electronic device time with being fully present for my children. I think I do OK balancing the two, but there’s always room for improvement. Sometimes I need a gentle reminder (thank you, Jane Scott) to set down my phone, close my laptop and play with my kiddos.

Parents, how do you make sure your phone doesn’t come between you and your children? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Reasons You Should Not Claim Social Security Early
7 Reasons You Should Not Claim Social Security Early

The sooner you claim your Social Security retirement benefits, the more you — and perhaps also your spouse — stand to lose. Here are the stakes.

How to Get the Best Possible Deal on Car Insurance
How to Get the Best Possible Deal on Car Insurance

This is the last article on understanding and shopping for car insurance that you’ll ever need.

5 Ways to Save at Dollar Tree
5 Ways to Save at Dollar Tree

Yes, it’s possible to pay less than a buck for items from a dollar store.

Why Is My Pension Killing My Social Security Benefit?
Why Is My Pension Killing My Social Security Benefit?

A reader says the government is penalizing him for having a pension. Is he right?

8 Surefire Ways to Get Rid of Debt ASAP
8 Surefire Ways to Get Rid of Debt ASAP

Here’s how to pay off debt fast and pain-free.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

This Is America’s New Favorite Grocery Store
This Is America’s New Favorite Grocery Store

Consumers say a familiar name has become their go-to source of grocery items.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

5 States Lowering Taxes This Year — and 2 Raising Them
5 States Lowering Taxes This Year — and 2 Raising Them

State personal income tax rates, brackets and deductions just changed in these places.

The 10 Golden Rules of Becoming a Millionaire
The 10 Golden Rules of Becoming a Millionaire

I’m a millionaire several times over. I got here the same way you can — by following these simple steps.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.