Parents who spend too much time on their phone ignore their children. Moreover, their children feel ignored, research has revealed, and feel they have to fight for their parents’ attention. Simultaneously, parents and children feel the other spends too much time on their phones. Meanwhile, ongoing interactions with digital devices cause changes in the brain chemistry of both parents and children and have damaging effects on relationship dynamics. Another new study on the phone use of parents conducted by Illinois State University discovered a new issue. Parents who have difficulty regulating their interactions with digital devices “…have children who exhibit more behavioral problems including acting out, crying, or other negative behaviors,” according to Chicago Tribune. This was a relatively small study as just 170 parents in the United States were surveyed. Lead researchers used the term “technoference,” as in “interference” to describe the disturbance technology creates in relationships. Parents who admitted that their use of technological devices was ‘problematic’ or ‘addictive’ also admitted that their relationships with their children were suffering. For the parents, these problematic behaviors might include checking their phone too often, feeling lost without their devices, or turning to interactions with their phones when feeling lonely, the article writes. Parents’ constant “technoferences” lead to children “…acting out, turning inward with feelings, or exhibiting aggressive behaviors or crying spells…”
There’s an app for that
Thankfully, as technology would have it, there is an app for helping parents as well as children monitor, regulate, then limit their onscreen interactions. Moment, for example, is a phone use monitoring app which alerts you as to how much screen time you’ve had, then gives you a report at the end of the day. The app offers a ‘boot camp’ for learning how to disconnect. You can also set a very loud alarm when you’ve hit a certain time allowance for screen interactions. Other apps can lock the phone entirely, shut down apps, enable restrictions, and send texts to chosen family members. Creating accountability and monitoring, these apps can help parents put down their phones. In response, children will notice their parent’s behaviors, imitate them, and change their own patterns of interactions.
Parents of teens and adolescents who are in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction know that authentic interactions, as well as quality relationship time, is critical for their child’s recovery. Choosing the right treatment program for your child’s recovery helps you know that everyone will have an opportunity to grow together.
Families are healing every day at the Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center. Our programs for adolescent and teenage boys offer a foundation building, life cleansing curriculum for recovery. Call us today for information: 662-598-4214