Smartphones have created a new style of parenting – we are present with the children physically but absent emotionally. The author of The Atlantic Erika Christakis explains how continuous partial attention from parents harms the development of our children.
- Julia simultaneously: the Child and iPhone
- The child and the gadgets: the rules of engagement
- As the gadgets are addictive and how to deal with it
- Put aside your smartphone and watch “Peppa Pig”
- Digital addiction begins to form in infancy – how gadgets affect the brain of our children
Today with smartphones connected the sea of negativity – a car accident, trouble sleeping, loss of empathy, problems in the relationship. It is easier to tell how much hurt than to find favor. Criticism of electronic devices in society has reached its peak.
However, according to new research, the key problem in the other. Yes, it’s for children, but it’s not what you think. Should be much more concerned about the obsession with devices parents than children.
Yes, parents are staying home with the kids a lot more than ever. Despite the sharp increase in the percentage of working women, today’s mothers spend with their children much longer than in the 1960-ies.
But the interaction between parent and child becomes more and more defective, even surrogate. Parents physically present in their children’s lives but not emotionally. I don’t blame the parents. My own children are grown, I like to joke that they would not have survived infancy if 25 years ago I had a smartphone.
Of course, saying that the fascination of parents a phone is an underrated problem, you should not ignore the direct risks associated with the effect of phones on children: many studies say that certain types of content cause harm to the brain of a child. Today children spend more than four hours a day in front of the screen. And since 1970, the average age of a daily “dialogue with the screen” was reduced from 4 years to 4 months.
Some of the latest interactive games that children play on phones or tablets, a safer than watching TV (or YouTube) because they better mimic the natural play behavior of children. And, of course, many adults themselves insanely into childhood oneself in the virtual world. However, everyone understands that the time spent at the screen, is a time of missed opportunities for active learning the world and building relationships with people.
Continuous partial attention – a new style of parenthood
And yet, paying attention to the impact of screens on children, parents, tend to forget. The technology expert Linda stone for more than 20 years ago said that parents suffer from “continuous partial attention.”
This condition harms not only us, argued stone, it hurts our children. A new style of interaction interrupts the ancient emotional bond, the hallmark of which is a responsive communication is the basis of understanding the world. We’re in uncharted territory.
Experts in child development give different names to the binary signal system between adult and child that influence the formation of the brain. Psychologists Kathy Hirsch-Apiaries and Roberta Michnik, Golinkoff call it “dialogue duet”.
Conversational scheme which parents use while interacting with children, has higher tone of voice, simplified grammar, exaggerated enthusiasm. This communication may seem cloying, but babies need it. According to one study, one-year-old children with whom the parents were talking in this emotional style, in two years, knew twice as many words than children not receiving such communication.
Development of the child requires a live connection, that’s why in one experiment, nine children, a few hours listening to the Chinese words from a living person capable of certain phonetic elements of the language, while another group of children listening to the same words through the video are unable.
According to Hirsch-Apiaries, more and more studies confirm the importance of communication. “Language is the only and best indicator of school performance, she said to me – and the key to good language skills is the communication between young children and adults.”
Therefore, a problem arises when the emotional resonance information system adult-child, so necessary for early development, is interrupted. “Children can’t learn when we interrupt a conversation because of a phone call or text appeared on the screen,” says Hirsh-Apiaries.
We are present around children, but not emotionally
In early 2010-ies of researchers from Boston secretly conducted surveillance as 55 nurses had lunch with one or more children in fast food restaurants. 40 adults were in varying degrees obsessed with their phones, some almost completely ignored children (the researchers noticed that the correspondence and the scrolling tape more absorbed the attention of adults than telephone conversations). It is not surprising that many children tried to draw attention to himself.
Another carefully designed experiment conducted in Philadelphia Hirsch-Pacecom, Golinkoff and Jessey reed, checked the effect of mobile phone on the study of words with children.
Thirty-eight mothers and their two-year-old children were placed in one room. Mothers said that they should teach the children two new words. Then one group of mothers, the researchers called, interrupting the lesson, and the children of these mothers have not learned the word, unlike the group, where classes have not been interrupted by a call to the phone. Interestingly, the researchers had to exclude from analysis the seven mothers who just didn’t answer the phone. Well done, what can I say!
To balance the needs of adults and children has never been easy, and even more difficult to balance their desires, and naive to believe that children can be unshakable center of parental attention.
Parents always let the kids sometimes to amuse ourselves – “stew in their own pot” or just messing around in the arena. In some ways phone for kids of the 21st century, that same “mother’s helper”, an attempt to do something with children. When parents do not have enough arenas, real or metaphorical, chaos is approaching.
When my parents somewhere, not keep track of the child is not a catastrophe, but chronic neglect is another story. The use of smartphones has revealed an iconic sign of dependence: adults become irritable when they are off the phone; not only do they miss emotional cues, but not “read”.
Immersed in the phone, the parent, faster irritated, believing that the child tries to manipulate, although in reality he just wants attention. Short, planned separation, of course, harmless, even useful for parents and for children (especially when children get older and want more independence).
But it is quite another – neglect is when a parent is with the child, but communicates not with him but with the phone, if the child is less valuable than an email.
When mom tells the kids to go play, and his father says he needs to focus on the work, the realities of adult life. But today, it seems, we are dealing with the worst model of education that can be imagined – we are physically present near the child, thereby blocking the child’s independence, but with virtually no emotionally.
Little kids will do anything to divert the attention of the adult.
To solve this problem will not be easy, especially given the fact that she was aggravated by the dramatic changes in education. More and more young kids (more than ever) attend kindergarten, according to the latest trends in preschool education, the lesson is pre-planned, boring scenario, consisting of a unilateral monologue of the teacher. In such circumstances, children have few opportunities for spontaneous communication.
The good news is that young children are ready, they will have to seek the attention of adults – I’m sure many of you have already felt on his face a little, chubby fingers, literally turning your head away from the phone.
Little kids will do anything to divert the attention of the adult, and if we don’t change our behavior, they will try to do it for us; you have yet to listen to a lot of tantrums from your maturing children. But over time, the children can give up. It takes two to tango. The truth is that we don’t know how much our children will suffer if we cease to pay attention to them.
But we must try to establish his own life
Of course, adults also suffer from the situation. Many have built their lives that they are “always on” – always at work, always children, always available for her husband, parents and those who may need them, plus all the time updated with the latest news. They are stuck in the digital equivalent of a squirrel cage.
Of course, it is easier to switch the entire alarm on your phone in the hands of a child, than to try to establish his own life. I understand what’s going on. I’m not only a mother and a foster parent, I am also the mistress old and fat fees. Knowing that she is overweight, I would rather prefer to dwell on counting calories in food my dog by confining it to a nasty diet than to rebuild your own diet and refuse (God forbid) from my morning cinnamon rolls. From a psychological point of view, this is a classic case of projection – the defensive attributing their faults to others.
If we can take control of our digital dependence, we find that can do much more for our children with a minimum of effort, and regardless of the number of hours that we devote to them.
Parents should afford to escape from the suffocating trap and stop trying to “be everything to everyone.” You can put your baby in a playpen or to stop playing with children football, if you don’t like it. Your baby will be fine. But when you are there with your child, put down the damn phone.
Translation Of Maria Stroganova