The addictive usage of technological devices, like the compulsive checking of social media on your smart phone can cause behavioural problems in your children.
Research this month by Brandon Mc Daniel, a professor at Illinois State University has indicated that parents who aren’t able to regulate their time spent staring phones, tablets and other technological devices have children who exhibit more behavioural problems than those who are able to present in the moment with their kids. “We need to critically examine our device use,” said Brandon McDaniel, family and consumer sciences assistant professor and author of the study that has uncovered these findings, “Let’s be mindful of how phones can influence us, so that we can be the master of our phones instead of our phones being the master of us.”
Technology Impacts the way we Communicate
In a study which is among the first of its kind Mc Daniel has investigated the impact of technology on our relationships. McDaniel surveyed 170 parents across the U.S. The parents he chose to observe and analyse were all married couples or in long term relationship on how technology impacts the communication between the parents and their kids.
A Wakeup Call
Results showed that the parents who experience addictive use of technology – constant checking, seeking companionship on the phone rather than in real life, and feeling lost and confused when without their phones, have children that are more prone to crying, turning inward or exhibiting aggressive behaviour.
While these findings might not be surprising to many they will serve as a wakeup call for some whose relationships with their kids are being interrupted daily. Smartphone addiction or “nomophobia” (fear of being without a mobile phone), is often an Internet overuse problem or Internet addiction disorder. It is rarely the phone or tablet itself that creates the compulsion, but rather the online worlds it connects us to, in many ways we feel we are inhabiting a space in the internet in much the same way we inhabit place in real life.
Jason Shiers – A Psychotherapist with www.recovery.org.uk says that working with clients who may be suffering with internet/technology addiction is much the same as working with substance addicts and that the nature of addiction means that when one member of the family is an addict there will undoubtedly be consequences for everyone.’
We are Being Inherently Changed by Technology
McDaniel has stated that it is not his aim is not to make parents feel guilty about their habits, but rather to help the public be mindful of the way technology is impacting our lives. Technology is changing us, the way we think, the way we bond with our families and our skill sets in ways which were never imagined before – not even in the realm of science fiction – we are not just the same as we ever were but with a greater array technology at our finger tips, we are being changed by the technology that we have created, we are thinking differently, our memories are being impacted, the way we relate to each other is too, it is important to be mindful of this, so we can make choices that are positive ones for us and our families.
” These devices are designed to absorb our attention,” McDaniel says, “Yes, you’re going to be distracted sometimes, but we need to try to minimize those distractions, realizing that your children are not always going to be little.”