The New Addiction - Parents & Technology (Part 1 of 3)
It was the best of times, and the worst of times... Parenting today is amazing - we have incredible resources at our fingertips that we utilize at every opportunity. Baby has a fever? Check WebMD. We get pictures throughout the day so we can see what our kids are up to at school or at daycare. We have Facebook groups where we can ask fellow momma's what's normal and if anyone else's kids is scared of the dark or anxious or struggling at school.
But on the other hand, technology if the number one reason parents believe raising kids today is more complicated in the past. As a parent, I agree. Technology exposes our kids to violence, pornography and child predators. But before I get to the kids, let's talk first about us, the parents.
Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007...and since then, kids have been competing with screens for attention. This is a sad truth. Go to a restaurant, go to a park, go anywhere, and you see cellphones tethered to parents. We ourselves are fighting an addiction to our phones. We are normalizing screens to the point where it almost becomes a body part. And our children see that, and learn it. And a cycle of addiction begins.
Am I being overdramatic?? I wish I could say I am. I wish I could say I'm talking about a minority of people, a small percentage of parents, but I'm not. According to a recent telegraph article, Britons are now so addicted to them (smartphones) that they check them every 12 minutes.
When a phone beeps, we answer it. We are Pavlov's dogs, trained to drool when an alert sounds.
American adults spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or simply interacting with media. This is insanity! And what did we replace with this? Activity, playing with our kids, deep conversations and real world experiences.
We are tech-obsessed and not willing to admit it. Why? According to Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, author of Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction is Highjacking our Kids, "We have, as a society, gone all-in on tech," he says. "So we don't want some buzzkilling truth sayers telling us that the emperor has no clothes and that the devices that we've all so fallen in love with can be a problem - especially for kids and their developing brains."
The sad thing is, studies have shown that screen time makes us less happy, yet we use it almost half of the day. There is an association between depression and screen time, as well as all the health risks of such a sedentary lifestyle.
Ghandi famously said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Well, if you want to see your kids put down their screens, you might have to do it first.
The next article will be on Technology and Children