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Parent Observation Essay

As a retail worker, I notice many parents that come into my store to shop for themselves, however, a majority of parents bring their children along with them. I have never taken into account child and parent interaction in a retail store, which is why I have decided to observe a child and parent in this context for this assignment. The child that I observed was around two years old, of male gender and caucasian descent. The parent of the child was his mother, was around the age of late twenties/ early thirties, and was also of caucasian descent. The day that I observed the child and parent was on a sunny, yet chilly day in

March, just shortly after the noon hour. I was working during my observation, and was sectioned in the women’s clothing section of my store, which was where the mother was shopping. As the mother was shopping, the child was sitting in a stroller, and was being pushed along by the mother as she shopped. The child seemed to be quietly observing the surrounding environment for about ten minutes as the mother was contently shopping, however, five minutes later, the child started to exert feelings of distress, and seemed to be trying to get out of the stroller.

The child also started to whine, and seemed as if he was trying to each for the mother. What I found most striking during this observation was the mothers reaction to the child’s distress, and additionally, the child’s reactions. The mother pulled out an electronic tablet from her purse, and handed it to the child as he was still in the stroller, and the child seemed to calm down. The child seemed to know his way around using the tablet, as he seemingly had no trouble turning it on and accessing different games and apps on it.

As I observed the child playing games on the tablet, the child would often light up with excitement when successfully accomplishing a specific task of the game. In turn, mother would often reply to the child with phrases such as “wow! ” or “great job buddy! “. Upon completing my observations, two of the biggest questions/concerns that I had, were is technology starting to interfere with the traditional role in the caregiver-child attachment relationship, and is interactive media and technology beginning to replace children’s concept of ‘play’, especially in the world we live in today?

There is no surprise that the current generation of children are growing up immersed in various forms of media and technology, and young children today will most likely never remember a time when the Internet, video games, laptops and tablets were nonexistent. The media and technology surrounding children today has become a vast portion of their life experience, however, children as young as the toddler age are spending an increasing amount of time with digital technology on a daily basis, but what impact does interactive media and technology have with the child- caregiver attachment, as well as the the child’s concept of ‘play?

The textbook notes how the relationship of attachment between a child and their caregiver serves as a fundamental basis as a means of increasing the chances of their own survival, hich is demonstrated by the works of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. The textbook also states the concept of parental sensitivity, in which it is an important factor contributing to the security of an infant’s attachment, and it can be exhibited in a variety of ways, including responsive caregiving when an infant is distressed or upset and engaging in coordinated play with the infant.

As described earlier in my observations, the mother of the child did not exhibit forms of responsive caregiving when her child started to exert feelings of distress and instead, gave the child an electronic tablet, thus, what are the effects of when parent turns to using interactive forms of technology and media to soothe their child when they are distressed or upset, instead of engaging in responsive caregiving, and what impact does this have in correlation to the relationship of attachment between a child and their caregiver?

When a young child is handed an electronic tablet to cope when they start to exhibit feelings of distress, will they eventually become dependent on the electronic tablet, and constantly seek for the tablet instead of their caregiver when they are distressed? Additionally, will the relationship of attachment between a child and caregiver ecome of less importance, due to the fact that children seem to become more dependent on interactive media and technology, and conversely, parents and caregivers allowing children to consistently engage in using forms of interactive media and technology?

The other concept that I found relevant in correlation to my observation young children’s concept of play. As noted in lecture with Tyler, play is essential to development in a sense that it contributes children’s to cognitive, physical, and social development, and also allows parents to engage with their children, and thus, hildren learn best through play. With children turning to interactive media and technology as their forms of play, is media hindering the development of children’s imagination, as well as taking away the traditional and natural processes of play?

Additionally, when parents turn to interactive media and technology As described by Dr. Jeffrey H. Goldstein and his article, “Technology and Play”, he notes how critics argue how “children are no longer able to engage in authentic, spontaneous play, that the narratives, symbols, and scenarios of their pretend play have been taken over by the media, depriving hildren of the opportunity to develop their imagination and autonomy” (Goldstein 2013).

Though I wasn’t able to distinctly observe the exact games the child was playing on the electronic tablet during my observation, I also thought how it was important to note that interactive media and technology is definitely influencing a different context of what is known to be as the traditional concept of play. Young children nowadays often turn to interactive media or technology and view them as a form of ‘play’, and additionally, Goldstein also notes about the concern of this, in which “technology will displace more esirable activities, like outdoor play, reading, or socializing with s the impact of media and friends” (Goldstein 2013).

In contrast, interactive media and technology have also enhanced children’s cognitive development, as children as young as two years old are able to use and operate electronic tablets all on their own. Goldstein further describes how “children learn to use these media largely through trial and error – through exploration, experimentation, and play”, thus play through the forms of interactive media and technology can also positively impact children’s development. O The impact of media and technology and the importance of play can further be linked to the relationship of attachment between a parent and a child.

As described earlier, traditional forms of play allow children and parents to engage with each other, which can also play a role in establishing the relationship of attachment between a parent and child. However, when a parent simply hands a form of interactive media or technology to their child to play with, how can the relationship of attachment between a parent and child be established, thus, is there any form of attachment between a parent and child when he child is so immersed in playing through interactive media or technology?

When parents don’t engage in playing with their child, what effects does it have on their child, as well as the relationship of attachment? The effects of media and technology are creating a vast impact on the development of children in today’s generation, as well as creating an impact on the relationship between parents and children. Traditional forms of play are continuously being shaped by interactive media and technology, which also creates an impact of the traditional parent and child relationship.

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