How parents' time on digital technology profoundly affects kids' development

Do you spend lots of time on your phone tweeting, Facebooking, Whatsapping and more? Do your kids shout' You're always on your phone!"

Time spent doing this may be time taken away from your kids.

Educational psychologist Melanie Hartgill explains the effect of this behaviour on your children.

She says the focus is always on children and technology and how much screen time is too much.

We very rarely turn it the other way around....and turning it the other way around is absolutely crucial.

Melanie Hartgill , educational psychologist

We are losing our relationship with our children because of technology and quite often, it's the parents on their technology and not just the children.

Melanie Hartgill , educational psychologist

The term that has been coined for it is 'techno-ference' - time spent on technology that interferes with time spent with your children.

And it starts from when they are absolute babies.

Melanie Hartgill , educational psychologist

She says she has seen a case, where a mother was breast feeding yet, had not glanced once at her baby and "her eyes were stuck on cell phone instead." Research has shown that newborn babies can see their mothers at that distance.

She says early eye contact with babies is crucial in healthy attachment developing.

Emotional attachment is not attained if children don't have mutual eye contact with their parents, and I don't think people realise how big a deal this really is.

Melanie Hartgill , educational psychologist

She says researchers are suggesting this behaviour is causing an evolutionary blip and could change the course of human civilisation because the majority of our brain growth occurs within the first three years.

Take a listen:


702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Gordhan, Jonas and Sisulu attend ANC vets consultative conference

Gordhan, Jonas and Sisulu attend ANC vets consultative conference

The conference organised by ANC stalwarts, and not sanctioned by the party, was attended by some big names including Thabo Mbeki.

'The Health Department has a series of challenges in its quality of leadership'

'The Health Department has a series of challenges in its quality of leadership'

Dr Fundile Nyati, CEO of Proactive Health Solutions spoke to 702's Bongani Bingwa about the state of the Department of Health.

AfriForum's Kallie Kriel: We want to expose a captured judiciary

AfriForum's Kallie Kriel: We want to expose a captured judiciary

AfriForum has announced that its private prosecuting unit will take on NPA Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba on charges of fraud and perjury.

Ramaphosa asks opposition for patience on judicial commission of inquiry delay

Ramaphosa asks opposition for patience on judicial commission of inquiry delay

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa appeared in Parliament on Thursday to answer MPs questions.

What's the fuss about fidget spinners?

What's the fuss about fidget spinners?

702's Phemelo Motene chats to parenting expert Nikki Bush pros and cons of fidget spinners and why schools are banning them.

Excessive screen time could affect your children's health

Excessive screen time could affect your children's health

OT specialist recommends that children have zero screen time play during the week and engage more in physical activities.

Popular articles
7 tips on how to keep your child safe in public

7 tips on how to keep your child safe in public

Social worker and Childline manager Faiza Khota shares practical advise on how to help protect children in public spaces.

Soon you may not be able to light up in public (indoors or out!)

Soon you may not be able to light up in public (indoors or out!)

The Dept of Health is looking to introduce draft legislation that includes a complete ban on all smoking in public areas.

'KZN nudist beach would be a draw card for international tourism'

'KZN nudist beach would be a draw card for international tourism'

Chairman of KZN Naturists Association Christo Bothma says having the section of the South Coast beach will boost the economy.

New drug known as 'flakka' hits Durban

New drug known as 'flakka' hits Durban

Sam Pillay, founder and director of Anti-Drug Forum SA says once the drug takes effect, the user appears possessed.

The President's Keepers: PDF version is tantamount to theft - Exclusive Books

The President's Keepers: PDF version is tantamount to theft - Exclusive Books

A PDF version of the book has been doing the rounds since Sars and the State Security Agency threatened legal action.

Falling out of love? Signs and stages of romantic disengagement

Falling out of love? Signs and stages of romantic disengagement

Can you love your partner, but no longer be in love with them? Dr Eve unravels stages of disaffection in romantic relationships.

Celibacy liberated me - Amanda Ndiki

Celibacy liberated me - Amanda Ndiki

Author Amanda Ndiki, celibate for 6 years describes her journey and how celibacy helped mend her sense of self.

'The university degree is dead'

'The university degree is dead'

Flux Trends founder Dion Chang gives five reasons why he believes getting a degree is past its sell by date.