It’s no secret that smartphones have become omnipresent in today’s society. I use mine all the time, but I know that when I have children, my phone will remain in my pocket most of the time.
Unfortunately, a large amount of us don’t feel the same way. A recent survey of 6,000 parents and children aged 8 to 13 years showed some disturbing statistics.
Of the parents surveyed, 52 per cent of them admit that they check their phones too frequently. Note that these are only the parents who admit they are on their phones too much. The sad truth is that they likely won’t do anything to address this problem. This is the true definition of addiction: knowing that what you’re doing is the wrong decision, but not being able to force yourself away from the addiction.
Twenty-eight per cent of these parents feel that they aren’t setting a good example for their children by using their phones constantly. Over one quarter of the adult population admits to being bad role models when it comes to addiction to technology. Like the 52 per cent who feel powerless over their addiction to smartphones, this 28 per cent knows they’re doing their children a disservice, but somehow aren’t able to overcome their attachment to technology.
A quarter of the adults in the survey reported that they want their children to use their smartphones less than they do. My question here is, do the parents in that 25 per cent of the population not realize they’re in charge of how much time their children spend on their phones? This echoes the previous notion that adults somehow feel powerless against their smartphones, as if these inanimate objects really do have some sort of control over a good-sized chunk of humanity.
As if these statistics weren’t frightening enough, the children surveyed had even more dreadful information to report.
An incredible 54 per cent of the children think their parents are on their phones too much. Think about for a second. Parents are spending so much time on their smartphones that their children, who still have bedtimes, homework, and summers off, have the perspective to realize that their parents are addicted to technology. Growing up, children gain an understanding of the world through their parents’ actions. My dad exercises every day of his life. Growing up, I thought all adults did that. So, for more than half of the children surveyed to understand that their parents are more addicted to technology than other parents are shows just how attached some adults are to their phones.
Unfortunately, there’s a much worse statistic to report. Thirty-two per cent of the children surveyed reported that they feel unimportant when their parents are using their phones. It’s bad enough that children lose out when parents are too busy with work or other adult obligations, but now they’re being neglected in favor of a handheld device. Have we really reached a point where watching YouTube videos and texting our friends is more important than enjoying our relationships with our children?
We adults are supposed to be the ones imposing limits on our children’s use of technology, but we can’t do so if we’re unable to limit our own smartphone usage. Technology does have a place in our lives, but it shouldn’t take up so much of our time that our relationships with our children suffer. We need to be the role models that show our children appropriate and responsible use of smartphones and other technological tools so that they don’t grow up thinking it’s okay to spend their days glued to a screen, ignoring everything and everyone around them.
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