The modern mom is super-efficient; she manages the home, her profession, family, and a hundred other things efficiently day in, day out. But in recent times, something is playing a spoilsport in this perfect scenario in some cases; and that’s her device.
My friend was nostalgic at a party about how she missed her son’s spectacular goal at an inter-school competition even though she had taken a day off for this very reason. “I was checking my emails,” she wailed.
“Something similar happened to me too last week!” remarked another. “I was checking my WhatsApp messages while awaiting our turn at the PT meeting in my daughter’s school, when her class teacher gently told me to keep the phone on silent mode. My daughter was so embarrassed and so angry she didn’t speak to me for two straight days!”
“I accidentally put the dishes in the washing machine one day, engrossed as I was in viewing the Instagram pics!” confessed another of our always-distracted friend.
Perhaps you have also been called out for paying more attention to the phone, or for proving to be boring company as you preferred your phone to conversation at the restaurant or at a party? If yes, you definitely need to check your level of digital obsession.
Are you screen-obsessed?
- Do you frequently check your phone for messages?
- Do you get agitated if your phone is not working?
- Do you prefer your phone now to your previous passions like reading, gardening or music?
- Do you feel distracted while talking to your kids or family?
- Do you check your messages the first thing every morning?
- Is your sleep cycle disturbed because you stay up late socializing online?
If the number of ‘yes’ is 3 or more, it might mean that you are finding it tough to balance your digital life. You tend to give your device a higher priority in your life, sometimes at the cost of real relationships. Time to do a reality check Moms, because your social media obsession can have consequences.
Firstly, you need to keep in mind that children are good at picking up unspoken cues. Your phone obsession will tell them you are more interested in your virtual life than in them. They will feel neglected and look for approval elsewhere. While younger kids tend to hide devices, older ones may isolate themselves from you and you definitely don’t want that.
Children may also feel embarrassed by your general digital habits including oversharing, sharing of embarrassing baby pics of them or being distracted during conversations and tiffs may arise, affecting the general happiness of the family.
With hands busy on the smartphone, will it be possible for you to impart that very essential physical touch – the hug, the squeeze and the hand-holding when kids feel low? I think not. Neither will you be able to share their fun moments, even cartoons, and create teaching points for them, for your screen will be monopolizing your attention.
Don’t distance yourself from your child. You are the adult, and you can identify your issues and change yourself. It’s not too late, start making changes in your digital habits today! Remember, besides mothering your kids, you also need to guide them to follow good digital practices.
Be the digital wellness role model for your kids:
- You want your kids to practice digital balance? You show them the way – limit your time online and know when to keep the phone away
- Your kids will be picking up social behavior clues from you so show them how to be a responsible device user – keep the phone on silent mode when in company and avoid looking at it when having a one-to-one conversation
- Fix ‘No Device Hours’ and ‘Device Free’ dinner time rules so that then entire family get to chat and share
- Devices away at night- Have a basket in which each member will deposit their phone before turning in for the night. Go back to ending the day with cuddles and story-telling; everyone will sleep with a smile on their faces
- Turn off message alerts and notifications- The pressure to check for messages will automatically decrease and you will experience reduced stress, trust me
We are worried about the effect of the virtual life in our children’s life but adults too are falling prey to the attractions offered by technology, especially the internet. Instead of engaging with family, grownups are often engaging with their devices, setting a bad example for kids. As parents, we need to take definitive steps to control our screen obsession and balance our digital lives.
After all, we want to set the right examples for our kids, right?
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