Study Determined Parents’ Frequent Smartphone Use Impairs Connection With Their Kids. D’uh.

By B.N. Frank

One of my friends forwarded an email sent by author, teacher, and functional medicine practitioner, Chris Kresser about results from an April 2018 study: “Smartphones distract parents from cultivating feelings of connection when spending time with their children.”

From the email:

Frequent phone use led parents to feel more distracted, which in turn impaired feelings of social connection and the meaning that parents derived when spending time with their children. In an additional weeklong diary study (Study 2), we found further evidence that smartphones can distract parents from reaping a sense of social connection when spending time with their children. These studies suggest that being constantly connected to the Internet may carry subtle costs for the fabric of social life.

A few months after these results were released, Activist Post reported about parental distraction from phones leading to child fatalities in Germany.

There is plenty of money being spent on studies in regard to frequent use of phones and other screens causing problems.  But will results be enough to change any of this when “persuasive design” is deliberately used to get us all addicted? 

Of course, it’s not just persuasive design that’s causing these problems.  Over the last decade or so, we’ve all been encouraged to use phones and other tech 24/7 for everything.  American parents have been encouraged to get their kids using screens starting when they are babies (even by Sesame Street) and public schools have collectively spent billions to provide “high tech” education.

Many others are participating in this, too, including the New York Public Library.   Think these children will grow up to be parents whose frequent phone use impairs their connection with their own kids?   Will there be more money spent in the future to validate this again in studies?

What may be the most disheartening aspect of this is the recent media coverage that has AGAIN highlighted that for many years already, tech designers, inventors, and investors have been limiting their own children’s tech use and exposure at home and sent them to private low-tech schools.  Their efforts have reached a new level of desperation:  spying on nannies to make sure they aren’t using screens while near their kids.

Activist Post and others have reported about the multiple issues stemming from the increasing use and exposure to screens and other sources of digital, electronic, and wireless technology.  Unfortunately, unless more parents decide to take a stand against all of this now, it seems obvious that this is only going to get worse.

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