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Why Parents Should be Mindful When Using Screens to Relax

Photo courtesy of Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Why Parents Should be Mindful When Using Screens to Relax

By Movieguide® Contributor

A recent study linked that when parents use their phone or computer around their kids to unwind it leads to worse parenting.  

Science Direct wrote, “This study examined caregivers’ psychological well-being, digital media use, and parenting practices, with a particular focus on specific aspects of media use.”

The study continued, “Caregivers (n = 549) with at least two children aged 5–18 participated in a multinational project examining family functioning and well-being amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents completed questionnaires assessing their psychological distress, media use habits, and parenting practices.” 

Science Direct concluded that there were “Comparisons of structural regression models revealed that operationalizing caregivers’ media use as a single general construct disregards important nuances in its relations to psychological distress and parenting. In a more detailed model, higher psychological distress was related to more screen time and media use for relaxation. Intrusions of media in interactions with family members and media use for relaxation were associated with lower-quality parenting.” 

“Lastly, less distressed caregivers were more likely to use media for maintaining social connections, which was associated with more positive and less negative parenting practices,” the study added. 

In addition Fatherly reported, Jasmine Zhang, the lead study author and graduate student at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada wrote, “When kids are showing difficult behaviors, parents might use technology to withdraw. And when you’re more absorbed in media, you might have stronger, less patient reactions to your children.” 

This doesn’t just assume that every time there is media consumption that the result is bad parenting.  

“It’s important to note that not all parental media use takes resources away from direct interaction with your children,” Zhang stated. 

Meanwhile, Fatherly also provided three easy tricks for parents to have healthier screen time. Their recommendations include, getting a phone bucket to put phones in after 5pm so parents are present, to use parental controls to limit time on apps, and lastly to set up a family game night.  


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