We are embedded in a critical age of what I am going to call digital attachment trauma.
It is with much sadness I witness parents on their digital gadgets while their school-age children are either on their digital toys as well, or they are bored and staring at their parents consumed with Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. It’s actually even more heartbreaking to watch these parents’ children role model their parent’s example. To see a young child’s face showing the expression of loneliness and boredom while their parent continues to ignore them over the digital gadget is worrisome.
In the future traumatized adults who grew up in this digital age will be coming (for what therapists call attachment trauma) not because they grew up in a household where there was drinking substance use or abuse but because the child was neglected ( the worst kind of abuse by the way) but because their mother and father or mothers and fathers were addicted to their digital phone, tablet, computer, or apple watch. These now adults unable to relate to their friends or partners in ways that are meaningful will be the result of the painful role modelling they endured as children.
How sad is this?
Children need the opportunity to relate to their caregivers in meaningful ways in order to learn relational skills. Most importantly, children need to feel like they belong -like they are significant in their family system. If a child learns from their parent’s role modelling that the digital gadget is more important than them, all kinds of attachment problems begin. These problems look like acting out in school, with the law, isolation, becoming addicted to video games and in its worst form joining gangs or committing crimes.
It may seem extreme what I am saying however you only have to pick up a book by Daniel Segal, Parenting From the Inside Out to really understand the importance of attachment and relating to your child.
Please, for the sake of the next generation when spending time with your children, find meaningful moments that do not involve digital gadgets and when you are out at a family event/restaurant, put down your phone and turn off your watch!