It is widely believed that we bond with our babies by holding them and gazing into their faces for hours on end. Welp, that’s exactly what I do with my iPhone; no wonder I feel so intensely attached to it.
I’m increasingly alarmed, though, by news about distracted parenting—personified by The New York Times as “that guy in the coffee shop who was so fixated on his tablet that he ignored his child’s shining eyes. Don’t be that guy.” And even more worried that my two kids could be among the one-third of children who reportedly feel “unimportant” when their parents ignore them to scroll through celebrity tweets and high school friends’ Facebook updates. Most troublesome? A new study that suggests parents “who were more likely to report being distracted by technology during playtime were also more likely to see behavior problems in their kids.”
With this in mind, I resolved to put my phone away, in a different room, for a full week around my kids. Please note I attempted to go phone-free, not screen-free; my kids still got their designated hour(s) of iPad time. (I’m nobody’s hero.) And if my kids were elsewhere, like at school or, OK, in the bathroom, I allowed myself quick hits of sweet, sweet dopamine and checked my texts.
Here’s a sampling of what it looks like to try to break a high-tech habit.