Thursday, January 25, 2018

One Way Parents Damage Their Children

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Photographing trees in my backyard
(My new book is Leading the Presence-Driven Church.)

Must reading for anyone wanting information on technology and addiction should read Adam Alter's Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. (Alter is Professor of Marketing and Technology at New York University.)

Just as people get addicted to heroin, more and more are becoming addicted to technology. If you agree that addiction is bad, then you agree that addiction to a cell phone is bad. If you are an addicted parent, you are ruining your kids.

Alter writes:

"At thirteen, Angela wished her parents understood “that technology isn’t the whole world . . . it’s annoying because it’s like you also have a family! How about we just spend some time together, and they’re like, ‘Wait, I just want to check something on my phone. I need to call work and see what’s going on.’ Parents with younger kids do even more damage when they constantly check their phones and tablets. Using head-mounted cameras, researchers have shown that infants instinctively follow their parents’ eyes. Distracted parents cultivate distracted children, because parents who can’t focus teach their children the same attentional patterns. According to the paper’s lead researcher, “The ability of children to sustain attention is known as a strong indicator for later success in areas such as language acquisition, problem-solving, and other key cognitive development milestones. Caregivers who appear distracted or whose eyes wander a lot while their children play appear to negatively impact infants’ burgeoning attention spans during a key stage of development.”" (Alter, pp. 39-40)