Parent

To Phone or Not to Phone

Recently a study/experiment was released where a researcher sat at a fast food restaurant and observed 55 families with children. Of the 55 families, 40 of those observed had a parent/adult that spent more time on a mobile device than interacting with the kids. There were several that stayed on their device throughout the entire meal. When I heard this I thought, Sounds about right. How many times have you been out and paying more attention to a text message, email, or phone call than to the kids? We’re all guilty and I’m not exempt.

But this is not what I’m really worried about. This study got me thinking about how much time we spend on laptops and mobile devices in general. I began to wonder about our kids’ safety. Sometimes we become so absorbed in screens that we don’t even notice which room of the house the kids have migrated to, or that someone is about to climb up the curtains, or react quickly enough to save baby from falling off the sofa, or thwart another attempt at snatching the leaves off of the house plants. It makes me wonder how many emergency room visits there are because of screen-obsessed parents. I feel confident that there are many avoidable visits.

Are we too Distracted?

With the emergence of smartphones, ereaders, and tablets, and the extinction of the flip phone, this makes perfect sense. No, I am not condoning the ignoring of our children in favor of what is often frivolous entertainment. I am only pointing out the fact that our entertainment choices have blossomed exponentially since the days of land lines and board games. As disheartening as this study may be, we have the power to divert our attention back to our kids and show some interest in what they are doing, even when it’s not all that interesting. If we ignore them now, they will ignore us later, in favor of their mobile devices.

Social networking shouldn’t be so enrapturing that we wait to change a diaper or fix a meal. Our kids shouldn’t be snatching at our heels to get our attention away from a screen. I’m not suggesting that we be at their beck and call on the double, but there is no reason for neglecting our parental duties for Candy Crush or Twitter. If it can wait, let it wait. I’m going to do better, mealtime or not. Are you?

Reader Response

Dare to share a moment when you weren’t paying enough attention to your children because of a mobile device, or share some activities that you do to keep the family electronic free for a little while.

Released by Zact with the new published report is a comprehensive slate of details presented on the infographic shared below.

ZACT MOBILE FAMILY SURVEY

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