A This Morning guest has sparked controversy after admitting that she finds it difficult to prioritise spending time with her children over spending time on her phone.
Kate Beavis appeared on the show to discuss the effect of screen time on parents’ relationships with their children, revealing that she finds it hard to concentrate on her children for more that 15 minutes at a time, because of the temptation to check her phone for updates and messages.
As part of the segment, Kate had been asked to give up her phone to see how her approach to family life was altered when the technology wasn’t available, and said that she was surprised at the outcome.
‘I thought it would be really difficult and I’d really miss it, but what was interesting is that it was really quite refreshing,’ she said, adding that the only time she’d really felt lost without her phone was during down time like shop queues and advert breaks, although she’d also discovered a practical challenge.
‘We couldn’t find out how to find an alarm clock, so we used my son’s Darth Vader clock,’ she laughed. ‘I was so scared it wouldn’t go off, I trust my phone more than the clock.’
Psychologist Emma Kenny, who appeared on the show via live link to comment on the story, said that the problem wasn’t necessarily technology itself, but the reaction it causes when we get ‘addicted’.
‘At the end of the day technology is part and parcel of our world and we have to use it for so many different purposes,’ she explained. It’s a place for storage, payment, accounts, so you can understand that people feel connected.’
‘The problem we have is that habitual need to keep checking, so that addictive cycle. Your cortisone level, stress level, is flooding your brain constantly, and that’s really bad for us,’ she warned, adding that ‘digital detoxes’ are often necessary not just on a psychological level, but a biological one too.
Images: ITV/This Morning
Kate, a business owner, says she quit her full-time job to spend more time with her children, but now she was self-employed, felt that she had to compromise by working at home, which often caused her to be staring at a screen, even when attending swimming galas or helping the children with their homework.
‘I think my children are fine with me working most of the time,’ she said. ‘We have no phones at the dining table, my children have a rule they have to do a certain amount of tasks before they can use their phone – creative time, outdoor time – but they probably do mirror our behaviour.’
Despite Kate’s measured approach, with some viewers calling her ‘reasonable’, a few audience members found her statements distasteful, taking to Twitter to air their views.
‘”My phone comes before my children” how f*cking selfish are you, WHY have kids in the first place? #thismorning’ one wrote, whilst another added: ‘I’m actually disgusted that she can smile and admit her phone comes before her kids…#ThisMorning’
However, other viewers defended Kate’s admission, particularly in the context of the busy mum running her own business.
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‘THIS is what being self employed from home is like. It’s normal to end up with your head stuck in your laptop or phone,’ one said, closely followed by another who tweeted: ‘my phone is my – homework solver, calendar, dictionary, calculator, colouring picture finder and my sanity ! Ive 4 daughters 😊’
‘my phone is like my organiser/calendar too so as a mum I need to note school activity days etc’ a third agreed.
Do YOU spend too much time on your phone when you’re with your kids? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!