Ignoring your kids in favor of your cell phone? Research shows what your gut may already tell you: It hurts their feelings. In researching her book The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age, psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair interviewed 1,000 children between the ages of 4 and 18 about their parents' use of mobile devices. The language that came up over and over again was "sad, mad, angry and lonely." Some gleefully shared how they tossed a parent's phone into the toilet or hid it in the oven.
If you’d like to preserve your cell phone—and possibly your family relationships—we recommend setting an intention to pay attention to your kids when you’re together. We agree with Steiner-Adair when she says, "We are behaving in ways that certainly tell children they don't matter, they're not interesting to us, they're not as compelling as anybody, anything, any ping that may interrupt our time with them.” Small wonder that children (and spouses and friends and colleagues…) may act out more to get a crumb of our attention.
We want to hear from you: Have you experienced “disconnects” because you’re preoccupied with technology? Have you felt the ping of disrespect when someone chooses a cell phone over you? Do you have any solutions? To join the conversation, click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion.