Do you spend more time on your smartphones or watching television and engage less in family activities at home? Beware, your child’s social-emotional well-being could be at stake.
According to researchers, technoference — the term they used to define everyday interruptions in face-to-face interactions because of technology devices — may lead children to show more frustration, hyperactivity, whining, sulking or tantrums.
“Children may be more likely to act out over time in response to technoference as opposed to internalise,” said Jenny S. Radesky from the University of Michigan in the US.
The study showed that in almost all cases, one device or more intruded in parent-child interactions at some stage during the day.
Moreover, parents who use their smartphone to escape the stress of their child’s bad behaviour may be making it worse because when on their devices, they have fewer conversations with their children and are more hostile when their children try to get their attention.
Using technology to escape child’s tantrums deprives parents of the opportunity to provide meaningful emotional support and positive feedback to their children causing them to revert to even more problematic behaviour which only added to their stress levels, likely leading to more withdrawal with technology, and the cycle continues, the researchers explained.
“These results support the idea that relationships between parent technoference and child externalising behaviour are transactional and influence each other over time,” said Brandon T. McDaniel from the Illinois State University.
“In other words, parents who have children with more externalising problems become more stressed, which may lead to their greater withdrawal with technology, which in turn may contribute to more child externalizing problems,” McDaniel added.
The study published in the journal Pediatric Research, included data from 172 two-parent families that is a total of 337 parents who had a child, aged 5 years or younger.