Without reading any study or statistic, it's common sense that having a parent that is constantly texting or on the phone is bad for kids. It distracts and detracts from parenting. Police give tickets for texting or talking on the phone when driving, but parents text and talk on the phone while parenting all the time. We all do it. And we aren't getting citations for it. Well not exactly. The consequences are far worse.
When parents talk on the phone or text too much, it can affect the way our children learn language. Here we are overly worried about too much television when we're screwing them up from gabbing on the phone.
Okay, maybe we're not all messing our kids up that much -- parenting is HARD! -- but the more we know what not to do, the better chance we have at not completely failing as mom or dad. Cannot accept failure! Just give them love and they will grow applies, always. But giving them love means putting down your damn phone. (I'm talking to myself here. I write this as I checked my phone three times so far.) This urgency to be in constant communication with the world beyond the one right in front of us is problematic.
I've had phone conversations while my babies played on the rug in front of me and I've texted while they went down the slide at the park. We have to do it sometimes. But we don't have to do it that much. We shouldn't because there are consequences beyond risking our child getting hurt because we aren't paying attention.
A study a few years back actually pointed out that kids who don't hear enough two-sided conversations don't score as high in every stage of language proficiency. Kids want to talk ... to us ... to parents. The more words they hear, the more they learn.
In another study, researchers looked at parent-child interactions at the infant stage. When moms smiled and played with babies as they babbled and played, those babies had a broader range of vocalizations.
And as we can guess, children love and thrive off of live interaction. In a study of 9-month-olds learning Mandarin (what overachievers!), those babies picked up the language best when taught by someone in person.
Kids need a social network. What we think of a social network (Facebook, Instagram, texting, emails) isn't the social network I'm talking about. They need a real live in person social network. Time to unplug ourselves.
Do you ever worry you spend too much time on your phone? What do you do to try not to when with your kids?
Image via Andrea Garza/Flickr