If you’re like most parents, you have a lot of trouble actually putting your device down!
They’ve become an integral part of just about every part of our lives, and with the latest smartphone trends that have us taking our mobile devices everywhere we go – from the local store to the bathroom – cell phones are also headed to the playground.
The issue isn’t that the devices are there, but that parents are paying more attention to them than their kids.
This has made use at the playground one of the most problematic smartphone trends. A recent study from the University of Washington showed that 44 percent of parents struggle to even reduce the use of their mobile devices while supervising children at the playground, let alone ceasing it altogether. That said, those same parents felt that they should actually be limiting the amount that they are looking at their gadget screens, despite the fact that they are not actually doing it.
Now people are starting to ask whether smartphone trends are taking us too far out of reality.
Law enforcement officers have been trying to stop people from calling, texting, surfing, and otherwise using their mobile devices while behind the wheel, as distracted driving has now become the leading cause of car crashes. Teachers have been trying to stop kids from using wireless gadgets in class for non-learning (or even cheating) activities. Now, children are going unsupervised in playgrounds despite that their parents are sitting only a few feet away and may even be facing their direction.
The University of Washington study pointed out that caregivers who were paying attention to their smartphones – regardless of the purpose for which the device was being used – were notably less attentive to the needs and requests of their children than those same adults were when they were caring for other kids or talking to friends.
This suggests that the argument that parents have always been distracted is not necessarily a valid one in this case. Instead, it indicates that this smartphone trend toward distraction is greatly reducing the supervision the children are receiving when compared to the traditional, non-digital forms of distraction that have always been present for parents and guardians at the playground. Could it be that mobile devices should be set aside or given the chance to charge up using a power bank during the time spent at the park with the kids?