Sisterhood Agenda

How Cell Phone Addiction Impacts Our Children

How Cell Phone Addiction Impacts Our Children
Angela D. Coleman
Latest posts by Angela D. Coleman (see all)

When a recent study demonstrated how cell phone addiction impacts our children, I was really curious.  In addition to doing research for a book that I am writing, I have first-hand knowledge of the potential dangers. We all use our cell phones, but…

How does cell phone addiction impact our children, especially our babies?

How cell phone addiction impacts children:  the experiment

Called the Still Face Experiment, a parent and baby play together and they are both happy. Then, when the researcher gives the signal, the parent turns away and then turns back to the baby with a face that is completely expressionless. Baby tries to get the parent to laugh, smile, and play again, but when the parent maintains a neutral and unresponsive face, the child breaks down, crying, squirming, and desperately trying to re-establish her connection with the parent.  After the researcher gives another signal, the parent turns away again to look back at the baby in a more natural and normal way, soothing the baby.  The baby seems to quickly forget what happened to get back to good feelings.

How cell phone addiction impacts children:  the outcomes

Technology impacts us all in many different ways. Studies involving babies, television, and cell phones have great implications for how cell phone addiction impacts our children.

Caspar Addyman, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist and director of the Goldsmiths InfantLab at Goldsmiths University of London in the United Kingdom believes that smartphone use is very similar to the still-faced experiment due to the importance of eye contact, which is a crucial part of normal parent-child interactions.

Researchers have found that when mothers and babies look at each other, their brain waves actually sync up, he says. If a parent isn’t looking at their baby’s face because they’re scrolling on a cell phone, they can’t possibly be in sync, interrupting that parent-child interaction.

Why cell phone addiction matters

The distressed baby is a primal response.  The need to see, hear, and feel loved is a tremendous one, shared by the vast majority of people.

Time and attention are part of most people’s love language and babies require a lot.

Most people operate under the assumption that cell phone use is harmless, even helpful. We also tend to underestimate the power of connection and the disruptive nature that cell phone addiction presents between new parents and babies.

When we turn away from our children and stop interacting with them, they feel it.  Babies seem to feel it most intensely.

When we casually read our texts and emails and scroll the news on our cell phones, let’s be aware of our actions and reactions and how this impacts those who are around us, especially our children.

Tip

Become more aware of when, where, and how you use your cell phone. Try to reduce your cell phone use around people you care about, especially your children.  Give them your time and attention instead.

Source

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