Dateline NBC recently focused a whole episode on The Perils of Parenting – -It was meant to be a behind-the-scenes look into what kids would do when faced with a bullying situation, a stranger at their house, getting into the car with someone they suspected was drunk driving and texting while driving (even when they knew there was a camera in the car!). Parents looked on to see how their children reacted in these situations.
There was a minor part of the show that affected me the most. The host was speaking to a group of children between the ages of 4 and 7 about their parents’ cell phone use (texting, talking etc. in general, not while driving) and how it made them feel. They all stated that they disliked their parents’ phones and wished their parents would just play with them instead of being connected. During the segment, when the host “received a phone call”, the kids went wild, hitting each other with pillows and acting out. When asked how they felt when she was on the phone, one of the kids said “It makes me feel like you don’t care about me.” Ouch.
When asked, that child’s mom said she was going to spend much less time on her phone, but another child’s parent said that she couldn’t, that there was no way she could be on the phone any less than she was. It made me wonder what our kids are going to be like. How is all of this multitasking and working from home and checking Facebook on our iPhones going to affect them in the long run. Will they truly be able to connect to another person when they are older or will they always crave attention? Sure, many of us work from home to achieve a better work/life balance. We have mobile devices to be able to leave the office a bit early and get to soccer games or karate class. But would our kids benefit more from having us stay at the office a bit longer and devote full time and attention to them when we’re with them? I’m thinking maybe yes.