How many times have you been having a conversation with someone and they look at their phone? How many times have you seen kids playing on their iPads out in public while their parents are talking? I’m sure you’ve experienced this before, as I have many times. In some cases, it can be frustrating and can feel like all personal connections have been lost. Kids and teenagers don’t learn this by themselves. They get it from their parents. Parents might not know or even realize what they’re doing to their kids, but their actions do negatively affect the kids.
As a babysitter, there have been countless times when parents have told me that if their kids get out of control that it’s ok to just put any of their countless technology devices in front of them and they’ll behave. This automatically is concerning to me. From a young age this teaches the kids to be dependent on technology because parents are constantly putting it in front of their faces to make them be quiet. Parents are the ones who are making the newer generations rely heavily on smart devices.
This isn’t the only way that parents are teaching their kids that this type of behavior is acceptable. They teach it to them by doing it themselves. Once again, whether it be personally or just from observation, I’ve seen parents talking to their kids and then stop paying attention to them when they respond to a text or look on Facebook. When the conversation is reversed and the kids are deep into their games and videos and won’t pay attention to their parents, the next thing you know, the parents are frustrated and confused as to why their kids aren’t being respectful and listening. As you’ve heard, kids learn and copy what they’ve been exposed to. They learn from parents. Kids who are too reliant on devices learn from parents who are too reliant on devices.
All of this can lead to kids developing more slowly, both socially and mentally, because they aren’t as used to interacting with the real world. So what can parents do to prevent this dramatic behavior from happening? Limit screen time and teach their kids how to interact with others, or before you know it, there will be no more real interaction.