In 2018, it’s hard to not be on your mobile phone. The days of sitting in a kitchen tethered to a landline or curbing the amount of time spent using the dial-up internet so that you could even make use of that landline are over. While the new question seems to always be: How much screen time is too much for my kid? It’s way less often: How is my screen time affecting my kid? One second grade teacher received an eloquent answer to the latter question from a young boy when she asked her students to name one thing they wish had never been invented.
“If I had to tell you what invention I don’t like, I would say that I don’t like the phone. I don’t like the phone because my parents are on their phone every day. A phone is sometimes a really bad habit,” the semi-tragic response read. “I hate my mum’s phone and I wish she never had one. That is an invention that I don’t like.”
Though the results aren’t 100 percent definitive, some research has suggested that kids are more likely to be short tempered, prone to constantly complaining and hyperactivity when parents interrupt family time to check their mobile devices. When 170 two-parent families were asked about their use of smartphones, only 11 percent of them said that technology never interrupted family time. Conversely more than half of the participants reported three technology interruptions a day. Moreover, another study has suggested that kids will develop attention-seeking behaviors if their parents spend too much time wrapped up in technology.
What may be the worst part about this is that the teacher who posted the first answer noted that of the 21 kids in her class, four of them gave a similar answer about their parent’s phones. More than a few parents even commented and called themselves out for having never held their own screen fixation under a microscope.
“Wow! Out if the mouth of babes! We are all guilty!!!,” wrote one commenter while another pointed out that eventually, kids will become screen-obsessed teenagers because they learned how to be that way from their parents.
Kids, teens, and adults are all grappling with the ‘how much is too much?’ of it all, and it’s everyone’s problem. There is truly no need to shame anyone, but this is something that every parent should chew on for a little bit.