A Reminder for a Growing Problem

By Andrea Whatcott
Deseret News
Published: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 11:19 a.m. MDT

Even today's careers not directly related to technology seem to require employees to be connected at all times. Many of those same employees are also parents and need to be connected emotionally to their children as well.

It's becoming more difficult for parents to set aside their devices and give their full attention to their children, according to an article by Katia Hetter at CNN.com.

Parents will often multitask, juggling their smartphone — where they are responding to an email from their boss, commenting on a Facebook status or jumping on Twitter — with cooking dinner, folding laundry and pushing their child on the swing. [It could also have fatal consequences for little children who might get hurt or injured as a result of the parent's/mother's inattention.]

While adults believe they are attentive to many tasks at once, according to a recent Stanford University study, parents are doing themselves a disservice with all the high-tech juggling. The researchers suggest that by doing less, people will be able to do more, as the ability to perform decreases with an increased amount of tasks.

Child psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein provided suggestions to parents in a CBS News report. She suggests parents set a "no phone" time, including no technology during dinner and also to pay attention to hints from children and even spouses. "There could be a lot of feelings of jealousy and competition for your attention," Hartstein said. "You're constantly doing this (looking down) or on the computer and your kid is asking for you and you are not paying attention to that cue."

According Dr. Sherry Turkle in an article in the New York Times, because parents feel an increased amount of pressure to be productive from their employers, [or just to socialize online] they are constantly checking their phones, unable to put them away. Yet this causes children to experience feelings of jealousy, competition and even hurt because of their parents' excessive use of technology.

In a January 2011 article in the Deseret News, Sara Israelsen-Hartley reported on a mother and her three teens who decided to take on the challenge of unplugging in order to really connect. They experienced a deeper bond from doing so.

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