What about Parents Addicted to Their Phones?
Many articles and topics of research focus on the effect that technology addiction has on children. Likewise, there is a vast amount of information on how technology affects teenagers, young adults, grown ups, and romantic relationships. The Macquarie Dictionary coined the term “phubbing” to describe a growing phenomenon in romantic partnerships where one partner chooses to engage with their technological device instead of the other partner. Reports have shown that this behavior causes partners to feel depressed, harm their self-image, and ultimately hurts the dynamic of the romantic relationship.
Recently, research looked into how a precisely similar phenomenon affects the dynamic of another relationship, the one between a parent and their children. Parents are becoming equally guilty of “phubbing” their children by paying more attention to their digital devices. Many of us have seen the modern tale at a restaurant. Mother, father, and child sit at a table, each with a digital device of some kind that fully absorbs their attention such that they ignore one another throughout dinner.
According to Parenting.com, a study conducted by AVG Technologies found that “Nearly one-third of children feel unimportant when their parents use their cell phones during meal times, conversations, TV watching and playing outside.” Over 6,000 children between the ages of eight and thirteen were surveyed for the study from different countries around the world. The article cites “…that 32% of children felt unimportant when their moms and dads were distracted by their phones.” Sadly, children felt as though they had to vie for their parents’ attention. About 28% of parents in the study agreed with their children.
The irony cannot be lost. Often we are discussing the issue the other way around, parents lamenting the exorbitant amount of time their children spend with devices. Over half of the children in the study believe that their parents “spend too much time on their phones” and over half of the parents “agreed with their children and worried that they were setting a bad example for their kids.” True to the irony of the situation, 25% of parents “wished their child used their device less.”
As always, parents have to remind themselves that they are setting the example for their children in all areas of life. Parents of teens and adolescents in recovery have to embrace the same morals, values, and some of the same lifestyle changes in support and solidarity. These changes are about more than not using a phone. Science has proven that chronic interaction with digital devices affects the brain, often in the same way drugs and alcohol do. Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is focused on creating the necessary changes which help the brain heal from the effects of addiction. Limiting phone interactions, stimulating conversation, and engaging with one another are just some of the behavioral changes that can both enhance recovery of a loved one, and the recovery of the family all together.
When it comes to recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, everyone plays a part. At Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center, our programs for teenage and adolescent boys help families find the journey to recovery and healing. For information, call us today: 662-598-4214