An Illinois State University professor is sounding an alarm that parents' overuse of technology could be leading to social and emotional problems in their young children.
Brandon McDaniel, an assistant professor in ISU’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, has researched "technoference," which he defines as allowing technology to interfere with social interactions.
McDaniel, a developmental psychologist, pointed to studies which claim parents reach for their phone or other device at least 70 times a day. He said that can be difficult for young children to comprehend.
“They often don’t have the cognitive capacity that we have as adults to think, OK, I know you still love me, we’re still friends, but you are checking your phone and now I’m going to check mine and we are going to be OK, we are going to move on,” McDaniel said. “For a kid, all they see over and over again (and think) my parents are looking at their phone, they aren’t looking at me, they aren’t paying attention to me.”
McDaniel recommended parents set up tech-free times or areas in your home to avoid children becoming detached.
“You want kids to have this secure, warm, strong bond with their parents and as they have that, we see lots of good outcomes,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel told GLT's Sound Ideas children who suffer from an emotional detachment from their parents are more likely to grow up struggling with academics, relationships and rearing their own children.
McDaniel said he’s not trying to blame parents, as he has three young children himself. But he wants to caution parents that technology is one more thing they need to learn to manage for their child's development.
You can also listen to the full interview:
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