News ID: 258230
Published: 0742 GMT September 03, 2019

We need to disconnect and reassure children we value them above our devices

We need to disconnect and reassure children we value them above our devices

By Geraldine Walsh*

Working from home means my computer and my phone are effectively another limb. With every sound my phone makes, I react, probably a lot quicker than when my daughter is competing for my attention.

And a competition it seems to have become, which makes me sad, guilty and afraid of my intense connection, not always work-related, with the technology at my fingertips, wrote.

My distracted attention only became a revelation to me when my eldest, in the sternest of voices a small child can muster, ordered me to ‘put my phone down’, after repeated attempts to grab my attention.

Finding myself in the category of a ‘tuned out’ parent was disappointing and this wasn’t the first instance my child cried out for ordinary attention from her mother.

I made the decision to work from home so I could be with our kids. Bring them to school, make their lunches, plaster their knees. It’s a decision a lot of parents are making with the deadening cost of childcare and the logistics of combining a nine-to-five job with school days.

But research suggested that despite being more physically in the home, we are not as emotionally attached to our children as technology gatecrashes the parent and child bubble.

We may argue that life has changed, and technology has become forefront in most of our lives, but that is no excuse for not providing our children with the attention we naturally should be giving. Disconnecting ourselves from technology is vital for our children’s wellbeing as well as giving ourselves the necessary head space outside of technology. And a parent’s attention plays a large part in the cognitive and emotional development of our children.

“Consistent, positive interactions between parent and child provide the basis for secure attachments which provide a safe space in which children can develop,” said Dr. Mary O’Kane, lecturer in psychology and early childhood with the Open University.


*Geraldine Walsh is an Irish freelance writer and blogger.

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