While technology has many benefits, like allowing us to stay in contact with family and friends half way across the world, there are some downsides.
Namely, researchers have recently conducted a study to determine if technology is interrupting quality time with our kids.
The researchers discovered that fatigue, hunger, and boredom were the main reasons for tantrums or children acting out. From this they set out to discover whether parents technology use was impacting their children’s behaviour.
Based out of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital the researchers found that parents heavy technology use may be related to behavioural issues in their children.
While we may consider taking a few minutes out of the day to check social media or reply to a text as no big deal, this research fears otherwise.
The study identified even seemingly low or normal use of technology was associated with more child behavioural issues. These issues include oversensitivity, hot tempers, hyperactivity, and whining.
Almost half the parents participating in this study reported technology interruptions three or more times a day. They then rated their child’s behaviour within the last two months. They reported how often they whined, sulked, got frustrated easily, had tantrums, or were restless/hyperactive.
While these findings are concerning, researchers noted that this study was small and cross sectional so a direct connection cannot be assumed.
However, this is the first of many potential studies identifying this connection and their findings should not be ignored. Luckily there are some small steps you can take to lower your technology use.
Give these tips a go:
1. Keep it out of the bedroom
Most of us have our phone with us in the bedroom, usually used as an alarm and on charge somewhere.
Having it so close at night and in the morning often encourages us to have a ‘quick look’. In doing so we end up replying to emails at 10:00pm, checking social media multiple times before bed and maybe even watching an episode of TV.
The temptation is also there to check your phone first thing when you roll over in the morning.
2. Switch off notifications
Notifications bombard us everyday from apps either telling us we have a friend request, encouraging us to play another game, or letting us know about updates.
While these may seem convenient at first, they can quickly snowball into encouraging us to check our phones multiple times a day, often for nothing important.
The temptation to ‘quickly check’ these notifications can easily turn into hours of scrolling down a newsfeed.
Turn off these notifications in your settings to avoid this temptation.
3. Set boundaries and time limits
Set yourself times during the day dedicated to checking your phone.
Whether this is during nap time, in the morning before the kids wake or at night time.
It can be a boundary such as “I don’t check my phone first thing in the morning.”
The boundaries are up to you. It is a good idea to start small and work your way up to a larger goal.