I love my phone. Most people today do and for good reason. It’s always there for you when you’re bored, lonely or feeling lazy, no need to use your brain and find something productive to do to pass the time, just scroll mindlessly through whatever social media account strikes your fancy. We have become extremely dependent on our phones and use them for EVERYTHING, but you know that. On one hand it’s great and super helpful, on the other hand it’s replacing valuable time once spent doing countless other important activities, including maintaining and building personal relationships. One aspect I find particularly disturbing is the effect our phone usage is having on our children. This video from the Today Show popped up in my news feed one day and it really put this issue into perspective for me. It features children being interviewed, most of them not having much positive to say about their parent’s phone usage. When they’re asked if they would take away the phones if they could, the kids said yes. They also asked them how their parents being on their phones makes them feel and it was heartbreaking, some even said it makes them feel unimportant, mad, sad and angry. How freaking sad is this?? Well, it makes me sad, especially because I’m sure my own children would have these same answers if asked. What do children do when they’re being ignored? They act out because they’re feeling starved for attention. This is pretty smart considering it works, I’d say 100% of the time. It starts with the toddler tapping on you or calling for you and when that doesn’t work they begin throwing things or screaming, anything to get you to look at them, sometimes they may even smack the phone right out of your hand (which is pretty obvious if you ask me). Kids need our attention to learn and develop properly, and typically they will do anything to show you this. If your child is acting out, you might consider how much true interaction they’re having with you. I’m absolutely guilty of spending too much time on my phone. When I really think about it most of what I’m looking at means literally nothing to me. My kids mean everything to me and my phone honestly means nothing to me. I love my kids, not my phone and I need to make a point to show them this every single day. Am I going to be on my phone at times? Yes. There will be occasions where I tell my kiddos, just a sec, while I finish something that I’m in the middle of doing. But, my family is more important than anything I need to scroll through on my phone, period.
Here are a few solutions to help you use your phone less ?
- Schedule specific times where no devices are allowed (breakfast, dinner, weekends)
- Pay attention to your child’s cues (are they feeling ignored?)
- Decide what is important enough to look at and silence other notifications
- Always acknowledge your child/family/any other human…
- Say you are sorry when you mess up (this shows you respect them & kiddos are quick to forgive)
This is a video about Millennials in the Workplace and it delves into phone addiction and the root causes of why we feel like we need it so much. It’s about 15 minutes long, so not too bad. I don’t agree with everything Simon Sinek says but, it was an eye opener for me.
It worries me to my core that it’s becoming more and more “normal” to sit alone scrolling our phones. We need to be present in the moment to fully live and enjoy our lives. And our children and families need us to be in the moment for them.
Put your phone down, I dare you.
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