Healthy Kids: Technology and parenting
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Technology means work and outside pressures can’t be avoided at home, but these blurred boundaries may make it difficult to be present with kids.
Dr. Annette St. Pierre-Makoul joined us in the studio to discuss this and more.
Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics:
- Looked at parental use of mobile technology around young children.
- Caused internal tension and conflicts.
- Resulted in negative interactions with their kids.
- It’s a challenge for parents to balance the two.
- Parental Struggles:
- Feel like they are in more than one place at a time.
- Feeling like they are still at work.
- Keep up socially with friends and relatives.
- Cook dinner and attend to their kids.
- Boundaries are blurred!
- Moms, dads and grandmothers were studied.
- Internal struggle between multitasking phone, work and children.
- Resulted in information overload and emotional tensions.
- Family routines were interrupted, such as meal time.
- Emotional response to info on mobile device …
- Caused them to react to their children differently.
- Children then had ‘attention-seeking- behaviors’ that …
- Resulted in parents snapping negatively at the kids.
- Positives of Mobile Technology and Parenting:
- ‘Escape’ from the boredom and stress of parenting at home.
- Ability to work from home.
- Easier communication with estranged family members.
- Allow children some independent time.
- Feel relevant at work and other parts of life.
Negatives of Mobile Technology and Parenting:
- Fewer verbal and nonverbal interactions with children.
- Mobile technology is unpredictably demanding of attention.
- Great emotional investment is also seen.
- Parents are using mobile devices 3 hours per day (on average).
- Set boundaries.
- Create a family plan including unplugged spaces or times of day.
- Track your mobile use.
- Create a filter or block to avoid temptation.
- Apps like ‘Moment’ and ‘Quality Time’ may help.
- Identify top device stressors.
- Use technology only when your children are occupied.