Are you guilty of ‘technoference’?

Are you guilty of technoference? This is when you are constantly distracted by your phone or other device. Your undivided attention is a valuable commodity. You may expend it having lunch with a friend or working on an important project at work. Certainly when it comes to how you interact with the members of your family they need your undivided attention. Often, technology is to blame, and it’s use can become a habit. Consider the cell phone most likely within your arm’s reach all day long. Is it a tool which helps you to be more productive, or do you feel as if you’re under its control? If you’re a parent, know this: How you use your phone definitely has an effect on your kids.

Your child learns less when you’re distracted with your phone

Kids with strong language skills do better in school, and they acquire that ability by having conversations with adults. A problem therefore arises when the emotionally resonant adult–child cueing system so essential to early learning is interrupted. A text, for example, or a quick check-in on Instagram is enough to stop the flow of conversation. Researchers investigated verbal and nonverbal interactions and learning, between adults and children. They found interactions and learning decreased when adults swiped a phone instead of paying attention to their child.

Half the parents reading this actually text and drive with their kids in the car

Everybody knows this is terribly dangerous. A study conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing found worrying trends. Half of parents used their phone while driving with kids in the vehicle. Researchers surveyed 760 parents and caregivers of children aged 4 to 10. They asked how they used their phones in the car within a three-month period. About a third admitted to reading text messages, one in four sent texts and one in seven used social media. In addition to the obvious safety issues involved with distracted driving, the study authors say this kind of behavior may be negative role modeling. This could result in kids who grow up to text and drive themselves.

Parents who allow technoference to interrupt family interactions have kids who misbehave more

Researchers from Illinois State University and University of Michigan Medical School studied nearly 200 families. They found a link between excessive parental cell phone use and behavior problems in kids. About 40 percent of mothers and 32 percent of fathers indicated they had some level of phone addiction. This included compulsively checking messages, ruminating about calls or texts or just believing they overly use the device. Nearly half of the families said their interactions with children were typically interrupted by devices at least three times daily. The researchers named this phenomenon “technoference.” And, the families with the most of this technoference also reported that their kids exhibited more behavior problems. Behaviors such as sulking, whining, hyperactivity and tantrums are typically attention seeking. They want their parents full attention. The non-verbal message they are receiving is that they come second in importance to their parent’s phone.

Don’t be guilty of technoference, put the phone away till your children are in bed at night.

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