How Parent's Social Media Addiction Affects Their Children

Let's be honest.  Kids and students aren't the only ones addicted to social media.  Parents are as well.  Take a look around and you'll see parents often focused on their cell phone...even when their kids need their attention.  Parents can become so absorbed with their devices, that it is difficult for their children to get their attention.

How does this affect children?  Studies show that parents who are constantly checking their phones for texts, email and social media updates are more likely to have kids who misbehave than people who are able to step away from their screens.  Yes, parent's social media addictions can influence their child's behavior in a negative way and cause parenting problems.  Kids need their parent's attention and will misbehave to get it if needed.  Many times, the temper tantrums, whining or hyperactivity is a child trying to get their parent to look at them rather than their cell phone.  

As we parent our own children and as we speak into the lives of the parents in our ministries, here are some steps we can encourage.

Set aside phones and tablets during meal time.  In a survey, 48% of parents reported technology interruptions at least 3 times a day.  You can avoid this happening during meal time by being intentional about turning off or silencing devices.  Meal time is a key time when parents have the opportunity to connect with their kids and engage in conversation. 
Carve out some "no social media" times that you spend focused entirely on your kids each day.  Professor Larry Rosen from the California State University says, "Parents worried about how technology disrupts their family time can try to carve out periods of each day when the devices go away and they focus only on their kids.  Children crave a connection to their parents and learn from their parents’ behaviors.  Constantly checking your phone is going to have a negative impact on this connection.”

Focus more on your kids than you do on pictures of your kids on social media.  If we are not intentional, we will spend more time looking at the pictures of our kids that we've posted on social media than we do actually looking at our kids in person.  Let's be honest.  As parents, we feel the pressure to post pictures of our kids and then carefully watch how many "likes" the pictures bring.  But don't let chasing likes cause your kids to grow up and not like you because it caused you to not focus on them.

Take a vacation from social media on your vacation.  Yes, take pictures, but don't get so absorbed with posting them that you don't maximize the time with your children and miss the magic of the moments.

Social media addiction is real and can have a grip on all of us.  Just try sitting aside your phone for a day and you will feel the pull.  We must make the pull toward meaningful connections with our kids be greater than the pull toward social media.