Setting a bad example

I know I’m a screen addict and that it hurts my kids. Today’s Parent, July 8, 2015.

A telling and rather sad article about a very common experience in many American families: It’s not just the kids who can’t seem to disconnect from their media machines but also the parents. And it is decidedly taking its toll. The study the author alludes to points out how many parents are aware that they are checking their phones and other electronic devices way too often in the presence of their kids, thereby sending the message to their children that interacting with the media machine of greater importance than interacting with the child.

But the problem goes further: First, the children are noticing this too and are in all likelihood feeling diminished emotionally by this parental disconnect. Second, when the parents want the kids to disconnect from the media more, they are easily perceived by their kids as hypocrites and so they are readily dismissed.

But there is even more to it than these problems. The trivial stuff the parents are often accessing on their media machines is just that, very trivial. If the parent is then seen by the child as basking in trivial pursuits, the personal depth of the child is also lessened. In short, we run the risk of rendering the inner lives of our children more superficial, filled with trivial pursuits, rather than deep and meaningful emotions, thoughts and relationships.