Rants in your Pants

Giving phones to kids as a distraction is lazy parenting
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor


Before I begin this argument, some context: One time I was on a bus when a baby in a stroller started to scream and cry. Instead of trying to figure out what the child needed or wanted, the mother pulled up a YouTube video on her phone and held it in front of their baby’s face until it quieted down. As much as I appreciate wanting your baby to be quiet, especially on a bus, I can’t defend using your phone or any form of technology as a distraction for a young child.

As easy as it may be for the parent, I think relying on screens or technology to occupy the attention of young kids is lazy and negligent parenting. In the instance of the baby on the bus, it may have helped the baby to stop crying in the short term. However, in the long term kids need to learn skills of how to cope with their emotions without the distractions of technology.

Some parents also use phones as a solution for their child’s boredom, but I think kids need to be bored once in a while so that they can learn to be creative with their time. By putting a phone in front of them every time they are bored or start crying, I feel it hinders their emotional and mental development because they won’t know how to deal with these emotions or issues using their own inventiveness.

This digital distraction also teaches children unhealthy coping mechanisms at an impressionable age that they might never be able to unlearn. Kids could become easily addicted to smartphones and screens if they are exposed to them often because they get so used to this technology that it becomes a crutch for them. Seriously, there are more beneficial and effective ways to stop your child from crying than sticking a screen in front of their face.

It’s okay to let your kid use the phone for entertainment once in a while. With technology more and more prominent in our everyday lives it would be hard to avoid phone use altogether. However, there should be boundaries on the amount of time their eyes are glued to the screen.