Erika Christakis is a mother of three and, like many parents these days, she’s heard a lot about the dangers of too much screen time for kids. But what if we should be more concerned about parental screen usage?
Statistics show that mothers today spend a higher quantity of time caring for their children than in previous generations, but Christakis is convinced that this interaction is of increasingly low quality. “Parents are constantly present in their children’s lives physically, but they are less emotionally attuned,” she writes, largely owing to the constant presence of digital distractions.
Christakis marshals some surprising statistics about childhood development and safety, but she concludes by noting that though occasional parental inattention has been part of parenting forever (just read Little House on the Prairie), parenting in our time is characterized more by continuous partial attention. How might this affect the way children interpret, receive, and respond to love from their parents?
Read “The Dangers of Distracted Parenting” (The Atlantic). For more on the problem of continuous partial attention, see Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.