In an article for The Daily Mail, Katharine Hill claims that gadgets are stopping parents from engaging fully with their children.
She shares one story of a dad being asked to play by his 7-year-old boy. After a frustrating time of being told his dad was coming, his son gave up, walked past his dad (who was busy replying to a message on his phone) and said: “You were a much nicer daddy before your iPhone.”
That may seem like an extreme example, and yet how many of us do something similar without even thinking? Headteachers commented to Katharine at a recent conference that they are dismayed at how many parents barely look up from their phones as their children come out of school.
Smartphones may seem like great inventions for us, and yet we are concerned about our children’s interaction with them. But do we ever think about our own, and what behaviour we are modelling to our children? Katharine comments: “When it comes to child development, parents have fallen into a trap of worrying about their offspring’s screentime, but not their own.”
While she recognises that there isn’t enough evidence yet as to what effect smartphone usage by parents has on children, she does introduce a new word psychologists have recently coined: “‘technoference’ – phones getting in the way of being engaged with our children”.
Research being done by psychologists suggests that children’s behavioural issues can sometimes be directly linked to ‘technoference’.
Katharine believes that parents need similar boundaries to children with their own phone usage, such as having an unplugged day and charging phones in a different room at night.
You can read the full article here.