Cellphones are part of our daily routine; they make life easier in many ways. They have become so necessary for work and communication with everyone, to keep us informed and even to entertain us with games and various applications. However, these useful devices can be detrimental to the proper exercise of parenting. Several scientific studies around the world have proven that the excessive use of cellphones is an obstacle to children’s education. Communication between family members can be impaired by the “supremacy” of cellphone use. Below are compelling reasons why cellphones are bad for parenting.
Children take advantage of parents’ lack of attention to mischief
When children see their parents focusing all their attention on their cellphones, they take the opportunity to get into mischief. They feel free from their parents’ gaze; therefore, they perceive that they have no limits. They also play pranks to get their parents’ attention. An interesting study done by the Boston Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics looked at 60 families with kids eating at a restaurant. 75% of the parents only looked at their cellphones and wholly ignored their kids. They took advantage of that distraction to play, go to other tables, go outside the restaurant, throw tantrums, among other mischiefs. Most parents didn’t even realize what their children had done, and dinner continued as if nothing had happened.
Kids feel less loved
When children see that their parents only pay attention to their cellphones and ignore them, kids conclude that they prefer and “love” cellphones more than them. A study done by AVG Technologies company states that 45% of children feel displaced by cellphones. Worst of all, they think disregarded by their parents and believe they hinder their parents’ lives. This feeling of sadness harms children’s emotional development. They may come to believe that they will never be valuable enough for others to love them. If this feeling of low self-esteem worsens over the years, the child may develop addictions and self-destructive behaviors. This can be avoided by addressing this problem early. Parents should prioritize their kids at all times.
Cellphone addiction: children perceive it as “normal”
When parents pay more attention to cellphones than their children, they perceive that this is normal. That’s why they demand that they buy their cellphones. More and more very young children have their cellphones. The parents agree to this request, often to stop them from insisting. From the moment a child gets his cellphone, he begins to imitate his parents’ behavior. They are aware of the calls, messages, notifications from social networks, etc. This behavior leads the child to start developing a virtual life. It will then be challenging for parents to instill in their kids physical exercise, playing in open spaces, and communicating with other children personally. They have seen their parents hanging around the cellphone all day long. Now it is the children who are repeating that same behavior.
Poor communication between parents and children
A study made by the Madrid Autonomous University states that cellphones’ excessive use seriously impairs communication between parents and children. The study explains that if children do not find answers when they try to talk to their parents, they will eventually stop trying. They feel that they are not essential to their parents and lose confidence in themselves. In a short time, they will stop trusting their parents and look for other references outside the home. It can also happen that they seek attention in social networks, forums, chats, etc. This context can leave children exposed to criminal pedophiles and child molesters, pretending to be children.
Technology successfully simplifies our daily lives, although the excessive use of cellphones can lead to distraction. Psychology has created a neologism, “technoconference,” to explain this trend. Technoconferencing is the interference of technology in our interpersonal relationships. The reasons why cellphones are bad for parenting are based on a distortion of values. We must prioritize personal connections over technological entertainment.