With the rise of mobile phones, children are spending more and more time than ever with their eyes glued to the screen. Kids are fixated at a young age due to the accessibility of the many resources that are provided, but parents have always been told to keep their children’s screen time to a minimum.
However, what you may not know is that parents should also limit their exposure to the screen—for both the children’s sake as well as the sake of the parents themselves.
Children need attention from their parents—not screens.
Experts now say that it’s important to prioritize the time parents spend with their children.
According to Cleveland Clinic’s doctor, Neha Vyas, giving children their attention and interaction that they need is crucial, and the time spent on the screen will take away from that.
“When you are on your device—you’re not interacting with your child. you’re not giving them when they’re young, the nonverbal cues they need in order to develop and in order to learn their language,” says Dr. Neha Vyas.
Depending on the age of the child, the amount of attention and interaction he or she needs will differ. When parents take time away from that, not only are they impacting the natural education the child will get from the parent, but also the behavior that will be engraved in the child’s mind.
It’s crucial for infants and toddlers to receive the parents’ full attention, therefore, in turn, it’s important to put the devices aside, and just give your toddler your full, and undivided attention.
As children grow a little older, their demand for their parents’ attention might not be as much as that of a toddler or infant, but remember that devices are never a replacement for a babysitter. It’s true that parents do get busy, and it’s easier to just stick a device in the child’s eager hands to retain their attention while the parents busy on with other things.
Giving the child the proper way of coping and dealing with an assortment of things will have an everlasting effect on them. They develop barriers—or the lack thereof—and give themselves the free reign to do whatever action, whatever thought they may have. In addition, the screen time itself isn’t as beneficial as it was advertised to be. Being a role model for kids, it teaches, and most of all, it harms when the phone time spent becomes excessive.
“When children are very young, they need you. they don’t need a screen—ever. as they grow older and become school-aged, there is such a thing as healthy screen-time and healthy screen content, as well,” says Dr. Vyas.
According to JAMA, when parents are on their phones, their response rate is slower, if at all. They talk less to their children, aren’t entirely attentive to their children’s needs, and sometimes overreact when interrupted, which will, as a consequence from some combination of the reactions—or lack thereof—lead to stress in parenting, as well as poor behavior in children.
Interaction is crucial for children to engage in. It helps their development in language skills used further on in life. Having a regular conversation not only allows children to grow, but it’s beneficial in order to maintain a healthy relationship.
Children are learning habits from their parents at a very young age, and that includes the use of devices. This behavior accompanies them from their young years straight to adulthood. Parents are important role models in the earlier stages in life, and the things that the parents do will ultimately allow the child to dictate whether an action is right or wrong.
Some parents even commented that when they were forced to distance themselves from the devices by any means, be it a power outage, phone problem, or any other reason why they might not be able to use their devices, they were able to focus better, with less clutter in their minds.
Cutting down screen time for parents is a crucial move in order to increase child interaction, and also allows children to develop better as they grow.
In this day and age, it may be impossible to cut out devices completely. Despite that, it’s important to limit everyone’s time for the benefit of all.