First, mea culpa: I spend way too much time on my phone, too. Doom-scrolling while watching my favorite college or NFL football game? Yep. Instead of enjoying a sunset I feel compelled to take a picture of it with my smartphone. Guilty. Instead of being in the moment, I often resort to checking texts, emails or Twitter-drivel on my phone. Yeah, I'm probably addicted.
And apparently I'm not alone. According to new research, moms and dads across the US spend nearly five hours a day on electronic devices. Those same parents spend less than 4 hours a day actively engaged with their offspring. Oof.
Houston (and Duluth), we have a problem.
The good news: most of us realize there's a problem here. That same study, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Campspot, reveals that more than half of U.S. parents (60%) are seeking ways to escape technology and reconnect with their kids. Moms and dads across the nation are encouraging more outdoor play (76%), setting time limits (74%) and creating device-free zones (63%). We are, apparently, making an attempt to step away from our phones, and tablets, and smart watches, with varying degrees of success.
The challenge? We are swimming in screens: most parents (80%) own three electronic devices or more, with the majority of their kids (81%) owning at least two electronic devices, highlighting the enormous presence of technology in households.
Our screens, from TV to phones, have become electronic pacifiers. And no, we don't want to miss a thing. But by leaning on our phones are we missing some of the best parts of life, including quality time with our offspring? Probably. Putting the phones down and escaping to the great outdoors without our gadgets sounds easy enough, but often it's easier said than done.
Here in the Northland we have so many great outdoor options, moments where we can ditch our phones and bond with kids and friends and family members. We've been blessed with an abundance of alternatives to doom-scrolling.
Wait, if our kids are on their phones, is it a wash - does everything cancel out?
Hold on. Let me check Google for answer.
On my phone.