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14th Jun 2016

Study Shows Kids Feel Unimportant to Mobile Phone-Addicted Parents

Trine Jensen-Burke

Disclaimer: I consider myself a bit of an addict when it comes to both Instagram and Pinterest, maybe even Facebook at times.

I love all the gorgeous inspiration and pretty images and find pinning images of beautiful bathrooms or delicious looking pasta recipes to be strangely soothing and zen-like.

But despite, or maybe even because of, my love of social media and pretty pictures, I have enforced a strict no phones rule when I am with my children.

As in, I don’t look at it until I am on the luas in the morning, having dropped everyone off to creche and school, and in the afternoons, it will remain on a shelf (unless it rings or I have to make a call, of course) in the hallway until after the children are in bed. More often lately, I let it stay there all night, telling myself that pretty much any updates/news/images can wait until I am once again back on the luas and killing time tomorrow morning.

And guess what? I have found that this has given me so much more time. Especially in the evenings, when I now once again have time to both fold laundry and read actual books.

And as for when I am with my kids? It was my own mum who reminded me, as she always does, how incredibly quickly these days go by, and how the last thing I will want is for them to ever feel like there was anything in my life more important than what they had to say or show me at that very moment.

According to a recent study by AVG Technologies, who surveyed more than 6,000 children, ages 8 to 13, from Brazil, Australia, Canada, France, The United Kingdom, Germany, The Czech Republic and the United States, nearly one-third of children feel unimportant when their parents were distracted by their phones.

According to the researchers, the kids said they had to compete with technology for their parents’ attention, and a whopping 28 percent of mothers and fathers agreed with this observation.

“I do feel like the balance between the degree to which I use my mobile device to stay connected to work and my ability to be more present, available to my family, is quite out of balance,” one of the parents in the study said.

In addition, 54 percent of the kids think their parents spend too much time on their phones. Fifty-two percent of moms and dads agreed with their children and worried that they were setting a bad example for their kids.

“With our kids picking up mobile devices at an increasingly younger age, it is really important that we set good habits within the home, early on,” said Tony Anscombe, senior security evangelist at AVG Technologies. “Children take their cues from us for everything else, so it is only natural that they should do the same with device use. It can be hard to step away from your device at home, but with a quarter of parents telling us that they wished their child used their device less (25 percent), they need to lead by example and consider how their behavior might be making their child feel.”

That’s the thing, isn’t it? Even when you think your children are busy doing something else, like watching TV or colouring, they are still looking up at you to make sure you are paying attention. And if you are too busy answering a work e-mail or scrolling through Facebook to see that, you are missing something really, really important.

Tell us, have YOUR kids ever complained about you being on your phone too much? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @Herfamilydotie