You come to the park with your children and encourage them to play. You sit down and get your phone out. Your children come along and ask you to hunt. You say "in a minute" as you scroll through your feed with social media.
We have done it all. It can be difficult not to do it. But these moments, when devices interrupt the interactions, cause great harm to children and family dynamics.
If you want to improve your family life this year, how about a commitment to disconnect from devices and to connect more often?
The reality is that technology is always present in our lives. Ninety-eight percent of families live in a house with at least one device with an internet connection. Parents use these devices for an average of 3.5 hours per day, with their children averaging 2.5 hours per day.
For children this is above the guideline recommended by the Canadian Pediatric Society of no more than one hour of high quality for children from two to five years.
Families who eat together do better
Families are also often texting and, checking social media and browsing the net during the family. Research shows that nearly 47 percent of households report using mobile phones at the dining table.
Having regular family meals and connecting them to the dining table is important for the development of the child. In essence, families who eat together do better! But family dinners are besieged by technology.
As a result, an educational campaign by Common Sense Media called #devicefreedinner, with comedian Will Ferrell, was devised to help families avoid "technoference" at the dinner table and find a healthy balance with the media.
"Technoference", or the intrusions and interruptions of digital devices during social interactions, has important implications for today's parenting. It is almost impossible to text simultaneously and while you respond consistently and sensitively to your child's needs.
Mobile devices can create sad children, hostile parents
Research shows that parents who are distracted by their mobile devices not only deal less with their children, but are also more hostile towards their children.
Children who compete with digital devices for the attention of their parents appear to run an increased risk of behavioral problems, including sadness and withdrawal, hyperactivity and tantrums.
Technoference is not unnoticed by children. More than 50 percent of children report that their parents check too much on their phones and 36 percent say their parents are distracted by their phone during calls.
So, are you ready to commit to shorten the screen time and increase the connection time of your family? If so, there are several ways to make this solution a success:
1. Create a family device plan
Device diagrams can help your family decide how and how often media are used, as well as where and when it will be used. As a family, you can come up with solutions or alternatives for when someone wants to take their device off (for example, pulling a favorite board game or playing football instead).
2. Be a media mentor & # 39;
Children learn media from people around them, especially from parents. Parents should model healthy device habits, including using devices in moderation, and not interfere with family hours, sleep, or being active.
3. Provide a device basket
When the family comes together at the end of the work and the school day, your devices fall into a designated device basket. If possible, put them on "do not disturb".
4. Take control of your phone
Your phone is designed to attract your attention. That is why icons are colorful and notifications in red! The Center for Human Technology offers many options to prevent you from being caught in the trap of your device. These include disabling social media and email alerts, displaying grayscale on your phone, and keeping your home screen for essential apps alone.
5. Resist the desire to document
Capturing special moments is important, but they can not replace the moments themselves. Try to be present and give priority to sharing moments with your child instead of your followers on social media.
6. Monitor the habits of your device
Just as a Fitbit counts our steps, devices follow our usage. Activate the screen time function on your phone and keep an eye on your use. Resolutions can be more successful when they are followed systematically. Make a goal to reduce your device usage by 10-25 percent and monitor your progress.
7. Understand your media habits
Understand the science behind why technology can be so addictive. For some parents, the use of devices can be a way out of the difficult behavior of their child or a way to relieve some stress. Unfortunately, the use of devices as a temporary stress reliever can lead to children acting more to regain the attention of their parents. Try to find as many ways as possible to relieve stress, such as exercising, breathing deeply, or going to the park.
Technology and devices can be used carefully and appropriately. Just like everything else, they must be used in moderation and may not replace important activities such as family hours, sleep, outdoor games, physical activity and personal interactions and communication.