Parents must lead by example.

We often read reports and studies about youth and their constant connection to the Internet or especially their cellphones.

PEW Research recently released Americans’ Views on Mobile Phone Etiquette and it revealed some very interesting statistics for grownups.

  • 92% of U.S. adults have a cellphone, and 90% of them say they have it with them frequently
  • 31% of them say they never turn-off their phone, while 45% say they rarely turn it off.

These stats alone are enough to start a conversation about leading by example for parents. We expect our children, especially teens to find a healthy digital balance in life, yet adults seem to be having the same struggle with unplugging – or should we say – un-stitching the cellphone from their physical body.  Whether it’s the palm of their hand or a fancy carrying case, it is never far from their fingers.

When I speak around the country on social media and my story of digital cruelty, I often ask the audience….. “What’s the very first thing you do when you wake-up? Brush your teeth? Use the bathroom? Or check your cellphone for text messages, emails or voice mails?” I think we all know the answer the audience gives. Yes, technology rules at all ages.

Benefit of the doubt:  More families are cutting back costs and removing a landline and only using mobile lines, however like with landlines, you can put that mobile phone on a charger and walk away.

Most adults can agree that using cellphones can be distracting in a social settings, yet a full 89% admitted to using their smartphone during a social gathering while 86% said they witnessed others using their gadgets during an event.

I go back to role modeling for our youth.  We are constantly discussing and reading about how rude and disrespectful our younger generation is today, however when we read about statistics of 89% and 86% — grownups really need to start thinking about their own social behavior.

Let’s review this graph.

How many times have you asked your child or teen to put their cellphone down while you are talking to them or during mealtime and especially at bedtime? They just want to send that one last text message – or finish up a photo – maybe downloading an app.

In reality, it seems that parents and youth have a lot in common when it comes to their mobile phones.  They enjoy them.  Let’s face it – we have become a society that relies on our smartphone for many valuable resources – from directions (GPS), ratings for  restaurants, apps for games and more, movies, books, Amazon, music and so much more.  I haven’t even touched on social media which connects us to our friends and family instantly.

Read the entire study here.

PS:  I love my smartphone and couldn’t live without it now! I am fairly a newbie too, it was only about 3 years ago that I graduated to one. I will admit, it’s hard putting them down – and turning them off. It’s a habit you need to do, which I have learned. I also learned not to give out my cell number frequently anymore. It really cut down on texts and calls. Keep in mind, your phone can be put in the silence mode for a reason, use it when you are with others. Vibrate is still distracting.