When we think of the negative effects of smartphone addiction, we immediately think of teenagers and children—and rightly so.
Smartphone addiction takes a toll on their development both physically (ruined eye sight, for example) and mentally (shorter attention spans).
But did you know that infants are also experiencing negative effects of smartphone addiction because of their parents?
This is because instead of filling their time talking and interacting their babies, parents are instead tapping away on their phones to pass time and kill boredom, as per Essential Baby.
“It’s a huge issue,” said Dana Suskind, associate professor of pediatric surgery at the University of Chicago “Language in those first few years of life is the food for the developing brain.”
However, some experts understand that parents can’t be expected to interact with their babies 24/7.
“I don’t think that being a good parent means gazing adoringly at your baby at all times,” said psychologist Eileen Kennedy-Moore.
In fact she says that the key isn’t in talking or the attention given, but the interaction the parent has with their child.
She then mentions how babies “freak out” when a mother, after being responsive, turns unresponsive. “Tuning out can be distressing for anyone.”
To make matters worse, a 2014 study published in the medical journal Pediatrics revealed that parents and guardians who are deeply absorbed with their devices tend to respond harshly to children.
Meanwhile, another study claimed that 54% of children say their parents check their phones too often.
“Clearly there are digital distractions,” said Chip Donohue, director of Technology in Early Childhood Center. “And clearly there are cases where we are losing the battle.”
However, at the end of the day, it all boils down to mindfulness.
“It’s complicated to be a parent in the digital age,” he added. “Parents need to remember that talking (to infants) is teaching and that this device could get in the way of that, and they need to take control of the device.”
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