Do you ever find yourself on your phone instead of paying attention to something your child is trying to tell you? Or do you watch TV instead of eat dinner at the table with them? These are some examples of things you could be guilty of as a parent that could be absolutely detrimental.
According to a new study, your technology use could be negatively impacting your child’s behavior, as well as ruining your relationship with them, and it’s called technoference.
Letting your technology and devices interrupt face-to-face interactions is the exact definition of technoference. According to recent studies, parents on average spend about 9 hours per day watching TV or being on their tablets, smartphones, and computers. It’s a huge problem, and here’s why.
This new study in technoference, conducted by Brandon T. McDaniel of Illinois State University and Jenny S. Radesky of the University of Michigan Medical School, points out that:
“Electronic device use likely deprives parents of the opportunity to provide meaningful emotional support and positive feedback to their children which causes their offspring to revert to even more problematic behavior such as throwing tantrums or sulking.”
It’s horrifying to think that as a parent, your use of technology could be the cause of your child’s negative behavior, but it absolutely makes sense. I find myself getting frustrated and easily upset when my fiancé chooses to be on his phone instead of present at dinner, and I couldn’t imagine being a child who really needs and relies upon interactions with a parent and not getting that.
“These results support the idea that relationships between parent technoference and child externalizing behavior are transactional and influence each other over time,” says Brandon T. McDaniel in the report.
“In other words, parents who have children with more externalizing problems become more stressed, which may lead to their greater withdrawal with technology, which in turn may contribute to more child externalizing problems.”
If you are guilty of prioritizing your digital time over that of meaningful time with your child, it’s not too late for you to fix it. We have some tips here on how you can start your digital detox, but one of the simplest ways you can get started today is through setting aside a designated amount of time where you go put your phone away on silent, in a drawer, and interact with your children instead. They deserve your undivided attention.