“Your kids hate your smartphone addiction,” said Ian Sherr in CNET.com. The average American now “spends about five hours a day on a mobile device,” and a growing body of research suggests kids resent competing for attention with the gadgets. One Louisiana elementary school asked students to write essays “on an invention they wish had never been created.” Four out of 21 chose the smartphone. “I hate my mom’s phone,” a second-grader wrote, “and I wish she never had one.” One study of parental behavior found that the more parents used their phones, the more their preschool children “whined, sulked, or became irritable, easily frustrated, or hyperactive”—even if the phone use was well within “normal” level. Most troubling: Even babies became uncomfortable when they saw their parents’ distracted “phone face.”
As with many things in life, boundaries are important. As adults, we set boundaries for our kids and grandkids, but it is just as important to set boundaries for ourselves. In our “information-rich, relationship-poor” world set apart time when the phones are down to really connect with those you love.