According to an article put out by the Associated Press, one in five mothers admit to occupying their young child with a smartphone device while they are out in public or busy with a task. Research conducted by the nonprofit group Common Sense Media shows that 40 percent of children ages 2-4 and 10 percent of children under the age of 2 are allowed to play with their caregiver’s smartphone.
Amber Mullaney, a Denver mother, says that going out (especially to a restaurant) without this device to occupy her two-year-old daughter, Tatum, is a nightmare.
“She’ll color for a little bit or talk with us for a little bit, but it’s short-lived. It’s miserable because all she wants to do is get out,” Mullaney says.
I can completely relate. I am guilty of giving my daughter my phone to play with when she was younger. Any parent out there knows that despite your greatest efforts to entertain your little adrenaline rush in a diaper, they ultimately get bored – fast. When I was younger, and I presume fidgety, my mother would give me a tiny, empty Tupperware bowl keychain that she used as a pill holder, to keep me occupied while we were waiting for our food.
Sometimes kids just get tired of coloring the same coloring sheet over and over with only a yellow crayon.
When you’re a parent, you do what you gotta do – and every parent knows this. Kids will throw a temper tantrum, not because they want your phone, or whatever is in your purse, but because they are bored and have much shorter attention spans than adults. With all of the educational apps available on smartphones, children can actually benefit from their parents’ phones. The child is learning about the alphabet and all of the animals on a farm, while the parents are enjoying their surf and turf and each other’s company.
How is a colorful phone with buttons different than the Fisher Price telephone we all had as children? There are thousands of apps that are targeted for children, and after viewing a handful of them, I can attest that they are surprisingly educational and fun.
Hey, an educational app on an iPhone is better than an empty pill bottle.