iPhone Orphans

Stumbled upon this interesting article by Beth Teitell.

Parents have long been worried about how much time their kids spend online. But if you ask the kids, mom and dad are the ones who can’t turn away from the screen.

Forever, the screen-time battles between parents and children have gone decidedly in one direction, with the mothers and fathers nagging and threatening, and the kids fighting to stay connected to their digital devices. But guess which family members are disgusted now?

You can’t get my mom off that phone,’’ said Lucas Finzi, 7, a Brookline second-grader. He and his brother have tried shaking their mother’s iPhone from her hands, and turning it off while she’s mid-correspondence, to no avail. “We’ll be at the dog park and she’ll just start texting someone,’’ said Miles 10.

Kids have always fought household rivals for their parents’ attention, of course. But competing against a phone attached to a kitchen wall or a newspaper is nothing compared with going head-to-head with Facebook or Angry Birds.

No one has calculated the number of iPhone (or tablet or laptop) orphans. But children who dream of talking to or playing with their parents without mom or dad stealing a glance at a screen may find it increasingly difficult.

Almost half of Americans – 46 percent – now own smart phones (up from 35 percent last May), and with the growing mobile connectivity has come increasing expectations from employers – and also from friends and family – that e-mails, texts, and tweets will be responded to immediately.

Toss in the siren call of constant notifications and it’s no wonder the kids are starting to push back, said Michael Rich, director of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Center on Media and Child Health.

He sees patients, particularly adolescents, who throw their parents own digital addiction right back at them. “Why should I disconnect when you don’t?’’ they ask.

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3 Comments on “iPhone Orphans

  1. It’s so true! I’ve grown up hating the competition with ‘things’ and still do to this day. We make an effort to put people first and have a rule of no phones on date nights including family nights and especially at bed time.

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