Smartphones Distract Parents from Cultivating Feelings of Connection When Spending Time with Their Children. This title of a study released by the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships should strike a chord with many families. Especially when taking numbers like these into account: per the study, 95% of smartphone users turn to their devices during social gatherings.
There were two prongs to the study, one which focused on families visiting a science museum, the other had parents report on their daily activities without knowledge of the study’s scope.
The big takeaway: though intended to connect us, smartphones have become a source of distraction that disconnects us instead. To quote the study: “…being constantly connected to the Internet may carry subtle costs for the fabric of social life.”
It’s time to unplug, people. So how can we prevent these small gadgets from sucking out vital lifeblood from family life? Parentology asked Kostadin Kushlev, an assistant professor in Georgetown University’s Psychology Department and one of the researchers behind the study, to share his insight.
“Succumbing to the temptations and distraction of our phones can make parents miss out on opportunities to feel a deeper connection with their children and with their role of being a parent,” Kushlev tells us.
His advice? “Parents could consider setting ’technology-free’ times of the day or weekend that apply to all (not just their children).”
Another step Kushlev recommends, ” Parents could also start taking advantage of the anti-distraction features already on their phones, such as iPhone’s “Do-Not-Disturb” until I leave this location.”
With Kushlev’s study in mind, Parentology pinpointed specific No-Phone Zones beneficial for families.
Three No-Phone Zones Every Family Needs
Here are three No-Phone Zones families should consider sacred. Designate them as sites for stowing away phones and tuning in to one another.
In the car
Commutes can bring with them a sense of dread. Instead, view them as opportunities for check ins and deep talks with loved ones. Resolve to store your phones in the glove compartment until reaching your destination.
Eating together as a family has been credited with everything from creating high self-esteem to boosting vocabulary and improving speaking skills. Phones at the dining table can block these benefits. Consider creating an official box, or drop zone, where cell phones and other devices remain during meals.
Putting kids to bed for the night should be a special moment. This is an ideal time for heart-to-heart chats, praying together or reading a story. Pick a set time for family members to power down and reconnect.