Heads Up

Science shows parents addicted to their cell phones affect their children’s development

October 3rd, 2020

If there’s one object that has changed our daily lives in a very significant way, it has got to be the smartphone.

Ever since the introduction of the very first iPhone by Apple, we’ve been living in an increasingly connected digital world, one that is very prone to addictions. After all, what can’t we do on our smartphones?

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Apple livestream, Cult of Mac Source: Apple livestream, Cult of Mac

Whether it’s checking our emails, keeping up with friends and family on social media, or checking out our favorite shows on YouTube and Netflix, it’s undeniable that smartphones – and to an extent, other connected screens – have completely taken over our lives and are here to stay.

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Tranmautritam Source: Tranmautritam

A lot of scientific studies have already been done about the usage of smartphones and screens, but recently, a group of scientists investigated the effect that parents’ smartphone use has on their children.

It might seem pretty natural to point fingers towards the so-called ‘digital natives’, or people who grew up with technology as we know it.

We’re mostly talking about Generation Z, but Millenials are basically experts in technology as well.

As a parent, it’s important to make sure that kids don’t get addicted to screens, but sometimes, older generations have a lot more issues with this than kids.

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Drew Rae Source: Drew Rae

In fact, according to Techjury.net, two out of three people show signs of ‘nomophobia’, meaning that when they don’t have their phone, they can get anxious or uncomfortable.

You could even say that they’re addicted or dependant on them.

It was already clear that spending too much time looking at screens can have a negative impact, both mentally as well as physically.

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Adrianna Calvo, Pexels Source: Adrianna Calvo, Pexels

The conclusion couldn’t be any more clear: too much screen time is bad for both adults and children, and can have serious negative impacts on health and development.

That’s what numerous researchers have already concluded, and it’s something that was recently reaffirmed by a joint study from the University of Michigan Medical School and Illinois State University.

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University of Michigan Medical School Source: University of Michigan Medical School

Parents can actually have a major role and impact on the digital wellbeing of children.

Researchers found a connection between the technology usage of parents and the behavior that that their children then displayed.

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August de Richelieu Source: August de Richelieu

According to the university study, people who spend a lot more time on their smartphone, computer, tablet, or even their television, are more likely to have a less meaningful relationship with their children.

As a result, these children can actually start to get frustrated and will try to battle for attention, one way or another.

The study itself was conducted completely in the United States, and the researches focussed their efforts on 183 two-parent families. It’s not a huge number of subjects, but sufficient enough to see some remarkable correlations and results.

The study was done longitudinally, meaning that the parents were asked questions multiple times over a long period for the best results.

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Ketut Subiyanto Source: Ketut Subiyanto

They were able to link a number of negative factors applying to children: think about stress levels, anxiety, bad/grumpy behavior, feeling irritated… to the smartphone usage of their parents.

The researchers mention that there is a (negative) relationship between parents’ digital usage and negative effects on their kids, and it was especially stronger with moms.

Further research on the subject still needs to be done, but there is most definitely a relationship here that can’t be ignored.

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Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels Source: Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

Spending too much time on screens has a bunch of other negative effects too.

A lot more children are now required to wear glasses because they’re looking at small screens too much, for example.

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JESHOOTS.com, Pexels Source: JESHOOTS.com, Pexels

Additionally, they also emit blue light which makes it more difficult to sleep.

A number of other problems are also prevalent, including attention deficit issues, weight problems, mental health issues, and muscle aches due to a bad posture.

In other words, limiting your screen time and that of your children is probably not a bad idea.

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Emma Bauso Source: Emma Bauso

If you’d like to dig into the study paper, feel free to check out the academic report at PubMed over here.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: Healthy Holistic Living, PubMed, TechJury