I Can’t Judge The Parents Of Kids With Technology Addictions

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shutterstock_108992243__1367166901_142.196.167.223I read a story last week about a four-year-old in the UK being treated for technology addiction. My gut reaction was, How terrible! What’s wrong with these parents! Then I saw a story today about other parents opening up about their children’s screen time and I realized that I am already guilty of some of these same behaviors.

Parents opened up to the Daily News about the difficulties they have breaking their kids away from technology. Reading their stories made me realize that I have some of the same problems. Parents confessed to giving in to simply avoid the tantrums they know will ensue if they take their iPhones or iPads away from their children. Um, yeah. Totally guilty of that behavior.

If I make the mistake of trying to quite my toddler with my iPhone when we are in a restaurant, there is no way I’m getting it back without a fight. I used to be more diligent about it. Now I find myself thinking, Whatever. At least he’s not disturbing anyone. Is that horrible parenting? Sometimes I think my paranoia about disturbing other people is affecting my parenting a little too much.

The Daily News reports, “According to psychologists, the signs of technology addiction include spending more than 24-30 hours a week on the device, mood shifts and aggression when gadgets are taken away, and a significant decrease in other activities and interests.” One out of three, here. My child doesn’t spend 24-30 hours a week on my iPhone, but he definitely exhibits aggression when I try to take it away. It’s actually hard for me to pry it out of his hands. I never thought I would be the mother that was having a tug-of-war with a $400 piece of technology with her toddler.

I have to get a hold of this behavior. I know a lot of people think that entertaining a child with an iPad is the same thing as entertaining him with a book – but I disagree. The difference is, I am more likely to engage with my child if he is entertaining himself with a book. He is so entertained by the videos on an iPhone that I am totally off the hook when it’s in his hands.

Maybe this is something that is going to be considered totally normal in a few years, but entertaining my child with technology still makes me feel guilty. It’s important to remember that when I have the knee-jerk reaction of judging other parents who engage in too much of this behavior, I’m just projecting my own disappointment in myself.

(photo: Oksana Kuzmina/