Excessive Smartphone Use Makes You A Distant Parent
Any parent could tell you that toddlers are full of whiny demands like "I need food" or "I need love" or "I need you to rescue me from this rabid dog." Smartphones offer parents a reprieve from the stresses of child-rearing, but study after study suggests those reprieves need to be taken in moderation, unless you want to raise a child who's more attached to Fortnite than you.
For starters, infants and toddlers were found to be more emotionally distressed and less likely to explore their environments when their mothers were on their phones. In fact, excessive phone use was considered a form of "maternal withdrawal and unresponsiveness."
That problem continues into tweenhood, where 32 percent of children aged eight to 13 reported feeling unimportant when their parents used their phones during dinner, conversations, and other family occasions, and over half the children in the study felt that their parents used their phones too much in general. Another study suggested that kids were more likely to act out to get the attention of a phone-using parent, while the parents were more likely to be irritable in their responses, feeding a negative cycle.
Psychology TodayOne with a frankly unsurprising end.
We're not implying that your children will grow up to be emotionally stunted criminals if you check your phone too many times during their band recital, but it is important to set clear boundaries, and leave your phone alone during family game night.
Screen Time Gives Young Children No Educational Benefits
Studies have found a worrying correlation between screen time and delays in expressive speech development. You don't need to eschew all technology and park your toddler in front of some Chaucer tomes every day, but children under the age of five have been found to gain nothing from screen time, even if it's a supposedly educational app or video. They simply don't take anything away from what's on a screen, unless a parent is there to help them contextualize it. So making a phone or tablet the go-to solution for your child's boredom or crankiness stunts their ability to handle those emotions. Ideally, children between two and five should only have an hour of supervised screen time a day, and children under two should have no screen time at all.
Also, be wary of YouTube's kids section. If you're not a parent or a sex offender, you might not be familiar with YouTube Kids. It's an endless parade of bright lights and weird noises fired into children's eyes and ears at a breakneck pace. Creators carefully analyze YouTube data to make videos that receive maximum attention from children. But what keeps children in a stupor and what actually teaches them anything are very different.