Being the parent of a young child is a huge responsibility. Not only are you in charge of your little one’s everyday care, but you’re also given the monumental task of raising your child to become a decent, happy, healthy human being. Knowing that you are accountable for the happiness and well being of this little person can feel a little overwhelming at times. Many parents are dealing with these feelings of stress by relying on their phones and tablets to make it through the day. However, just as distracted driving is hazardous to yourself and others, distracted parenting can be just as dangerous.
In her article, The Guilty Secret of Distracted Parenting, Pediatrician Perri Klass, M.D. warns of the hazards of so-called “distracted parenting,” pointing out that parents are so easily distracted by their devices because tending to young kids day after day can be wearing. Klass explains that part of the problem is how interactive technology and social media are designed to be emotionally absorbing and habit forming.
“We don’t always like to admit it, but taking care of small children is often quite tedious,” says Klass. “When my three children were small, I wouldn’t have made it through without a certain amount of distraction.” However, this kind of inattentive parenting—moms and dads looking at their phones while their children play, unsupervised—can have damaging effects.
Shane Ralston’s article The Dangerous Consequences of 'Distracted Parenting’ elaborates on how parental overuse of devices such as smartphones can pose a genuine threat to the welfare and development of children. Ralston points to research that shows a correlation between increased incidents of child playground injuries and parents’ technology-induced inattention. According to Ralston, distracted parenting is “a bad habit that detrimentally affects not only a child’s welfare, but also the health of the parent-child relationship.”
Parents need to be both physically and emotionally there for their children. A child is an individual with their own set of wants, desires, and needs. Therefore, moms and dads must make an effort to be present and connect with them.
“Enjoy those moments in the playground, and keep an eye on the monkey bars,” says Klass. “Safety first…remember that part of your job as a parent is setting limits.”
Taking care of a little human being is a big responsibility, but it is also one of life’s greatest blessings. So try putting down the phone and experiencing it!