The way you act and the things you do have a huge influence on your children’s development. It’s no secret that kids tend to follow their parents’ example, whether it’s positive and constructive or harmful and destructive.
When a child sees you with your face constantly glued to your smartphone, they’ll think it’s the right thing to do. And that’s paving the way for a lot of problems down the road. A lot of people seem to think that this is an issue, too. So when Juliana Mazurkewicz posted a photo of a note encouraging parents picking up their kids from daycare to get off their phones, the post went viral with over 2 million shares. Scroll down for Bored Panda’s interview with pediatrician Dr. Liz Donner about the effects that parents behaving this way has on their children, as well as for our chat with Juliana.
This photo of a daycare note went viral with over 2 million shares
Image credits: Juliana Mazurkewicz
Bored Panda reached out to Juliana, the mother who posted the photo on Facebook. According to her, since posting the image, her children aren’t in daycare anymore. “But I’ve noticed a big decrease in parents on their phones in the schools.”
“I’m not sure why, but our schools are rural and there’s no signal so that probably has something to do with it. I like it. I think we’re on our phones so much because we gravitate to the most interesting thing and the easiest entertainment within reach.”
“There’s so much entertainment and information here in our hand that it’s extremely hard to resist. It’s hard to change and set a good example. You have to admit to your kid that you’ve been doing something wrong! That’s hard,” she said. “Some social media apps have timers now, so you can see how many minutes (hours?) you’re spending on it each day. That’s very helpful!”
Kids learn from their parents
“Kids absolutely learn from their parents’ actions,” Dr. Donner told Bored Panda. “Children begin to imitate their parents’ behavior even before the age of one year!”
“Older kids often look to their parents to learn which actions are favorable and appropriate,” the pediatrician pointed out.
Dr. Donner said that, in her opinion, kids are becoming “psychologically addicted to screens from a younger and younger age.”
“I fear that excessive screen time is leading children toward worsening attention deficits, social impairment, emotional dysregulation, learning difficulties, and violent tendencies.” But what can be done about this?
“To reverse these issues on a societal level will take an extreme level of heightened public awareness. It will require the willingness to enforce limitations and adapt personal change on the parents’ behalf.”
Some people did not agree with the note’s message
The vast majority of people supported the message that parents should give their toddlers the attention they deserve and feel responsible for the habits they instill in them.
However, there were some naysayers as well! They were mad that the daycare doesn’t seem to care about some parents’ careers, responsibilities, and accused the photo of shaming moms and dads.
For instance, Megan Zander writes on Scary Mommy that the note’s an attempt to “make mothers feel bad for trying to multitask” and the message it’s trying to send is, therefore, invalid.
“If a daycare wants me off the phone that badly then they better also be willing to watch my children for free. My phone keeps me connected with work, and without my job, the daycare bill isn’t getting paid,” Zander criticized the viral note.
“Moms aren’t choosing the phone over their child. They’re just trying to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Working moms face enough judgment already. We don’t need it from the daycare, too,” she added.
It’s important to limit screen time
However, this does make your kids more susceptible to spending way too much time in front of electronic devices. And that’s unhealthy for everyone involved. In a previous interview with Bored Panda, Dr. Donner explained that the biggest challenge parents face when trying to limit their kids’ screen time is finding what to replace it with.
“Limiting screen time increases the amount of valuable real-life skill development. Kids require actual human interaction to enhance their social skills and even motor development. They need to learn to understand real human facial expression, body language, tone of voice, and reciprocal communication skills,” Dr. Donner stressed.
She added: “Screen-free interaction with your children doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Reading a book to them as early as 6 months of age has shown to increase their language and reading skills later in life. Hands-on play time will teach them social interaction and motor skills that are essential to their healthy development. Lastly, we find that less screen time in the toddler years corresponds to lower rates of ADHD by the age of 7.”