Parents, Put Down the Phone! Campaign Launched by Augsburg

More and more parents are neglecting their children because they are always occupied with their smartphones.
In the Augsburg area, posters are now being hung up and postcards distributed to encourage parents to stop and think – and to be a model for their children.
The initiative was launched by the Office for Youth and Family in the Landratsamt.

Teachers are talking about a “smart-ridden generation” that is just growing up and cannot even focus on one thing for a quarter of an hour. In schools, the use of mobile phones is therefore generally prohibited. But what contribution are parents making to a more conscious use of devices, which are already becoming prostheses and worse, at night? This question is at the center of a recent campaign launched by the district of Augsburg, initiated by adults who are critically questioning their use of the smartphone. For the sake of children.

Ten years after the launch of the first iPhone, communication behavior has dramatically changed in many families. Brigitte Maly-Motta, head of the Department for Early Aids at the Augsburg District Council, reports a random observation: A girl at the hairdresser’s is close to tears because she does not want to have her hair cut, afraid of losing her curls. While the hairdresser is desperately talking to the child, her mother notices nothing. The woman is so intensely occupied with her smartphone that she forgets everything around her, even her child. “At the time it was clear to me,” says Maly-Motta, “that we have to worry about the texting, surfing and phoning of parents.”

As in other cities, for example Frankfurt, Augsburg is hanging up posters and distributing postcards to encourage parents to stop and think. The initiative was launched by the Office for Youth and Family in the Landratsamt: 5,000 postcards and 1,000 posters to raise awareness of mothers and fathers that the permanent everyday presence of media can easily make them lose sight of the need of their children for attention and eye contact. It is not yet clear what effect the use of smartphones has in the presence of children, according to the district authorities. But the experts agree: “It is doing no good.”

The campaign runs under the motto “Talk to your child!”… It points out that children in the first years of life need close contact and intensive communication with an adult. This gives them security and is important for their development. “Communication involves eye contact and undivided attention. When parents are constantly busy with their smartphones, they miss many beautiful and important opportunities to pick up on what their child is experiencing,” he says. Landrat Martin Sailer (CSU) hopes that the parents will embrace the recommendation and “give children more time and attention”.
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