A recent survey by YouGov, an Internet-based market research and data analytics firm claims that 70% of Indian mothers have used smartphones to raise their children. It has also found that eight out of 10 mothers feel that technology has made parenting easier than before, TOI reported. While the survey took responses of 700 mothers who have children from the age group between less than 12 months to 18 years old categorising them into two groups – young and old mothers.

Women with children between the age of less than 12 months and up to 3 years of age were categorised as young mothers. Women with children above three years till up to 18 years came under the group of older mothers.

While women agreed that smartphone is the most widely used product of technology for parenting, but only 38% would recommend it to their friends and family. They mostly use parenting apps to their benefit in order to find better ways to raise their children.

This is not to say that mothers have completely relinquished the olden ways of finding suggestions around parenting from friends and family and don’t rely on familial support at all. However, an increasing number of young mothers are taking a larger interest in reading online blogs about motherhood –almost 50%–than older mothers who stand at a close 41%.

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Cautionary Approach Is Necessary

Not all is rosy with using technology for parenting, even as mothers use smartphones progressively; they fear certain facets of the device. A staggering 76% of mothers feel the biggest challenge of using smartphones is cyber-bullying. They want to protect their child from the dangers of cyber-bullying, the study noted.

While parents use smartphones to learn better parenting ways from fellow parents on the internet, it may not be the best thing particularly for mothers who have children who are older and can comprehend. An article published in The Atlantic in 2018 argues the challenges of “tuned-out” parents, it outrightly says, “More than screen-obsessed young children, we should be concerned about tuned-out parents.”

While women agreed that smartphone is the most widely used product of technology for parenting, but only 38% would recommend it to their friends and family. They mostly use parenting apps to their benefit in order to find better ways to raise their children.

It further adds, “Mothers today astoundingly spend more time caring for their children than mothers did in the 1960s. But the engagement between parent and child is increasingly low-quality, even ersatz. Parents are constantly present in their children’s lives physically, but they are less emotionally attuned.”

A lot of talks usually happen around children sparing higher amount of screen-time but not many talk about parents’ usage of smartphones. Tech expert Linda Stone gave it a name around two decades ago calling it “continuous partial attention”. This meant that parents’ excessive use of smartphone may not just harm them but their children as well. “The new parental-interaction style can interrupt an ancient emotional cueing system, whose hallmark is responsive communication, the basis of most human learning. We’re in uncharted territory,” the article stated.

Use of smartphone for parental advice from other mommy bloggers may not necessarily be a bad thing in general as the digital age allows us that advantage which mothers from the previous generation did not have. It especially helps first-time mothers understand and live the whole experience in a far-better manner, also in cases where one does not have elders in the family. But since excess of anything is harmful, one should think twice about excessive usage of smartphone in front of growing children who imbibe behaviour very quickly.

More Stories by Poorvi Gupta

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