The reason why co-sleeping reduces the risk of SIDS, when done safely, is because being near the parents helps infants to regulate their body temperatures, heart rates, and breathing. And they don’t sleep quite as deeply and can even sync their sleep patterns with their parents, which may help them awaken easier to prevent them from dying.
In fact, for countries where co-sleeping is the norm, SIDS is virtually non-existent. Most mothers in these countries have never even heard of SIDS. That should say a lot about the benefits of co-sleeping!
Also, cry-it-out raises the infants’ heart rates and causes them to shut down eventually which can lead to a very deep, unhealthy sleep because it’s unnatural.
Yet, despite the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics is finally acknowledging the research showing the benefits of co-sleeping, when I shared this on my Facebook pages, many assumed that it meant bed sharing only and rejected it. So I want to clarify what co-sleeping is in the hopes that parents will follow this advice and find the right sleep situation for their family. After all, it could just save infants’ lives!
Therefore, let me clarify that co-sleeping is having the children sleep nearby. It can include bed sharing, but many parents use co-sleepers that attach to the side of the bed, a crib next to the bed, a playpen near the bed, a bassinet near the bed, or a cradle by the bed. You don’t have to bed share to co-sleep. I am a big proponent of co-sleeping because, not only does it save lives, but it also makes nighttime parenting easier because the baby is right there.
Co-sleeping also aides in attachment. Being near their parents makes infants feel safe and secure. They usually don’t have to work themselves up into a full-blown cry when they awaken in the night because Mommy and Daddy are right there to comfort them and meet their needs.
If you’re worried that they will never move out of your bedroom if you allow them to sleep with you, how many teenagers do you know who still sleep with their parents every night? Yeah, none! When you and the child are ready, you can transition him/her to his/her own room.
Please co-sleep with your babies in a manner that works for you. It may save their lives!
As we celebrate Independence Day, I think about how our culture is consumed by independence. We constantly push children from birth to grow up as fast as possible. We don’t value interdependence at all.
The first thing most parents push their infants to do is hurry up and sleep through the night. Now, I understand that it is exhausting to have to parent a child throughout the night, but sleep is a need, not a skill. No one can force children to sleep.
As I have written about many times, some parents try to force their infants to sleep “independently” by letting them cry-it-out. Since crying is an infant’s only way of communication, leaving an infant in a dark room to cry alone releases huge amounts of stress hormones to his/her brain. Sure, infants eventually stop crying and “sleep” when left to cry-it-out, but it’s not the healthy sleep people believe it is. Rather, their brains are literally shutting down from stress.
Then the learned helplessness sets in. Infants learn to mistrust themselves and their caregivers when their cries are not consistently and respectfully responded to. Just because allowing them to cry “worked” and they appear fine, doesn’t mean damage didn’t occur. As an early childhood professional, I cannot recommend cry-it-out ever. Plus, just because they no longer cry out at night does not mean that they still don’t wake up hungry, scared, cold, hot, sick, in pain, or with a soiled diaper in the middle of the night. They just don’t bother to cry for help because nobody will come.
Infants need a response when they cry. A little fussing with our support as they fall asleep is ok, but ignoring their outright cries is not. Keep your babies close and create a bedtime routine based on your and their needs. The time you spend parenting at night will pay off and soon enough they’ll be sleeping on their own and you may miss the quiet time at night with your little one.
Another way that we push independence on infants and young children is that we manipulate infants’ bodies to crawl, sit up, and walk before they are ready. I strongly believe God created infants to develop naturally without our “helping” them along. We don’t need to push infants or young children to do things that they’re not ready to do. Don’t hold them back, but don’t push them either.
Also, when children are forced to obey out of fear of being punished, they further learn that their parents cannot be trusted. Plus, we force them to become independent before they’re really ready by expecting too much of them. Another thing is that they learn to hide stuff from their parents. They learn that they “themselves” are the only ones that they can truly depend on. This can negatively affect their adult relationships as well as their relationships with God.
We need to do our best to show our children they can depend on us and God. I believe encouraging teamwork and interdependence within the family is the best way to grow independent children and adults.
Some researchers in Australia conducted a study in which 43 infants ranging from six months to 16 months were either allowed to cry for longer periods of time, had graduated extinction, or had their bedtimes moved back to help the infants fall asleep quicker claim that the infants who were allowed to cry-it-out had no negative effects.
There are a number of problems with this study from a scholarly standpoint.
1. The study was extremely small and did not specify what ages were in the different groups. Allowing a toddler or older infant to fuss for a few minutes with our support as they fall asleep is much different than a young infant being left to cry for ten or more minutes. This leads me to my second issue with this study.
2. We are not told how long the infants in the cry-it-out group were allowed to cry. Were they totally alone when they were allowed to cry-it-out or was the parent nearby? Sometimes when weaning or adjusting bedtime routines, infants cry and if you hold them or rub their backs as they cry, their stress levels are much lower than just being put down in a crib alone with no support.
3. The researchers claim to have “measured the stress hormone cortisol in the babies’ saliva in the afternoon and the morning during the treatment. They also used ankle monitors to track how often the babies in each group were waking throughout the night” (Bowerman, 2016, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/05/24/study-infant-baby-sleep-method-cry-it-out-wont-damage-child/84838958/). The morning and afternoon but not at night when the stress is happening? This makes no sense. Especially when many, many other studies measure the infants’ heart rates, blood pressure, and stress hormones have shown that being left alone to cry-it-out does, in fact, stress infants out. Just swabbing the infants’ mouths twice a day and using a bracelet to count how long the infants stay asleep is not enough to conclude that cry-it-out isn’t harmful.
4. They allowed the parents to change groups and the control group was the one that just continued with their bedtime routines. So, we are not told what the bedtime routines of the control group were. We are not told what the other groups routines were either. We don’t know if the infants were teething, sick, co-sleeping, or what happened when the infants woke up in the night. We are not told about the family life of these infants. We are not told about their development. So many things can affect an infant’s sleep pattern.
5. So the study claims that infants allowed to cry-it-out slept longer. This is not necessarily a good thing! Being exhausted from crying does not lead to healthy sleep. Any adult who has cried themselves to sleep knows that you don’t wake up very rested. Actually, you’re exhausted. Also, for infants their brain actually shuts down from crying because of all the stress of nobody answering. This is NOT healthy nor is it good! In fact, reliable and valid research shows that:
”Sleep techniques that employ prolonged crying to ‘teach’ an infant to sleep simply teach the infant that the mother will not respond as he or she expects. As a consequence, the infant cannot rely on the mother’s care and for survival, and he or she must conserve energy, since the mother as a food source is now unpredictable. The infant therefore ceases to cry when crying fails to produce a response, and presents the appearance of sleep (shuts down activity). This leads parents to think they have successfully sleep trained their baby, while the baby is responding to the possibility it has been abandoned, and attempting to conserve energy to stay alive“ (Ball, 2015, http://www.bellybelly.com.au/baby-sleep/cry-it-out/).
6. There are years and years of research by credible doctors and early childhood professionals that prove that cry-it-out is emotionally and physically harmful to infants. And what about the studies by Rene Spitz, Harry Harlow, Mary Ainsworth, Emmi Pikler, John Bowlby backing up and proving how detrimental it is for infants if they don’t receive sensitive, respectful care 24/7? Are we supposed discount all thes valid and reliable studies by top researchers in the field for this one very flawed study? Gosh, children are people too!
Dr. Bruce Perry is another person that shows neglecting babies’ need for touch and sensitive care has detrimental effects on their brain development. The first 5 years are crucial. So many people don’t understand just how vulnerable the young brain is. Yes, most survive harsh parenting practices such as cry-it-out andspanking/hitting but the damage IS there!!
7. The researchers do not define what secure attachment is. The children can seem attached on the surface but there are a number of attachment issues that can occur in children who are not sensitively cared for. Please read this post I wrote for more info about different attachment issues.
In sum, this was a very flawed study. It is not credible nor reliable. Infants need sensitive, respectful care 24/7. There are resources to gently help infants and parents sleep such as Elizabeth Pantley’s book, The No Cry Sleep Solution.
As I am once again plunged into the dark place of grief since I just lost my grandpa only nine months after losing my mother-in-law (I was extremely close to both of them), I am confronted with well-meaning people trying to distract me in order to make me feel better. I’m also confronted with people who are not compassionate at all towards my deep pain. I had no idea I would have the latter problem.
But with this post I want to focus on validation and distraction. From the moment infants are born, many well-meaning people tend to distract infants when they cry instead of validating them and telling them that they will meet their needs.
I mean shushing the infant and saying, “You’re okay.” is not validating them. They are crying for a reason and it’s up to us to validate them and figure out what they need.
Unfortunately, this tendency to use distraction over validation occurs throughout life. People just aren’t comfortable with anyone of any age showing negative emotions. And yet, the Bible says:
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15, NASB).
The Bible also says:
“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2, NASB).
We can rejoice easy enough with people, but when it comes to weeping and mourning with them, many run the other way. I believe this is due to being taught distraction from birth. It’s easier to say, “You’re okay,” and try to make someone smile and laugh than to sit down with them and listen to their pain and cry with them.
I find the most peace when people tell me that everything I am feeling right now is normal and to take my time. After all, to truly semi heal from great loss is to feel the pain and let it pass. God never distracts us from our pain. He is right here feeling it with us and comforting us. Encouragement is also so helpful to anyone of any age.
All this being said, I believe there is a place for respectful distraction. But it must always come after validation. Offering a young child something to do after he/she has pretty much worked through his/her upset is fine as long as the child can refuse it. Sending a funny video to a hurting person is okay as long as it is preferenced with “I know you’re having a hard time. I thought this might give you a smile.” Offering to take a grieving person out is okay as long as you are ready to hear them talk about the pain and maybe even see him/her cry.
Hurting, upset people of all ages need validation over distraction! Yes, taking a break from our pain is important, but without the support and validation of others, it makes the healing process take longer. It also causes children to learn that negative feelings are unacceptable and that they should repress and deny their pain.
If there is physical pain then validating it should still come before distraction. I use distraction as a coping mechanism but I recognize that I must feel the pain too as, unfortunately, pain is a part of this life on Earth.
May we always validate each other so that no one must carry their pain and burdens alone.
Psalm 139:13-18 (NASB):
“For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.”
I love this Scipture for two reasons.
God created us in our mothers’ wombs. Therefore, a baby has a soul from the moment he/she is conceived. Even John The Baptist leaped in his mother’s womb when Mary visited Elizabeth while pregnant with Jesus (Luke 1:41). Therefore, it is important we recognize that babies are babies in the womb and help the pro-life movement by giving to pregnancy crisis centers. Picketing at abortion clinics does not help.
The other reason I love this Scripture is that it says nothing about sinfulness. Yes, the parents are sinful, but God creates babies. Babies are incapable of sinning. Therefore, we need to respect them and treat them in a way that reflects God’s love to them.
Here’s another beautiful Scripture showing us how God feels about babies and young children:
“O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength
Because of Your adversaries,
To make the enemy and the revengeful cease” (Psalm 8:1-3, NASB).
If young children are so “sinful,” why would God have established His strength in them? He is in our babies. Shouldn’t we view young children the way God views them?
I watched a tv show back in October 2015 that described the five primal fears of all humans. According to this article, the five primal fears are:
Extinction. This is the fear of death.
Mutilation. This is the fear of losing body parts or being physically hurt.
Loss of Autonomy. This is the fear of being physically disabled or not having control over situations.
Separation. This is the fear of being left behind or isolated or losing loved ones.
Ego-death. This is the fear of being humiliated or shamed.
In this post I want to focus on separation. Anyone following my blog or that has read my book knows that I don’t believe that fear is from God based on 2 Timothy 1:7 (NASB) which states:
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
Therefore, I think of these primal fears as more survival instincts. They keep us from putting ourselves in danger. They are God’s way of keeping us safe.
Separation is one of my major fears, or, I guess, survival instincts. It is extra strong in me. I have lost a lot of people throughout my life. Whether it was due to rejection or death or people moving away, the fact is loss scares me.
I have been on overdrive lately when it comes to losing people due to losing my mother-in-law, to whom I was quite close, in August 2015. So if a friend starts to back off due to life, I feel the road to rejection and loss coming all over again. I freak.
I hate blaming my severe cerebral palsy on anything, but I must wonder if I would experience less loss if I wasn’t disabled. I would more easily make friends and could physically contribute more to friendships such as spontaneously meeting friends somewhere without having to plan it all out.
I was also physically, emotionally, and verbally abused by my dad throughout my entire childhood. Then he disowned me in my adulthood. That gets into separation instinct as well as ego death. We all need to feel valued and loved from day one.
Of course there is another major reason why some people’s separation instinct is on overdrive. Being left to cry-it-out as infants teaches children to expect separation and loss. The brain gets wired in such a way that instead of having a healthy survival instinct, it goes into overdrive. Then if the child continues to experience loss, that further increases their survival instinct and fear of separation and loss.
I must point out that separation anxiety in infants and toddlers is developmentally appropriate. Parents and caregivers can help children with separation anxiety by always telling the child when they will be back as well as always saying goodbye to the child instead of sneaking out. This helps children not be on high alert to make sure people won’t just suddenly disappear.
You know, God created us to need human and animal companionship. Therefore, a healthy separation survival instinct would be to recognize our need for relationships without always worrying about losing the people we love. When God saw that Adam needed additional companionship, He created the animals for him. Then when they weren’t enough, God created Eve.
Yes, God fills up a certain major need in us, but He knows we need other relationships on this Earth. I know that may be a weird idea for many Christians as the church teaches us that God is all we need. And indeed, there is nothing that can ever compare to God’s perfect, unconditional love for us. But if all we need is God, then why did He create us with a separation survival instinct?
This is why infants need us to respond to them consistently and respectfully when they cry or they will have brain damage that may not be apparent to the naked eye but will surface in some manner at some point in their lives. It will negatively affect every relationship they ever have.
I believe we need to cherish every relationship we are in and do our part in nurturing it.
Yes, some relationships must take priority over others. But God doesn’t want us walking away from relationships in which He put us unless they have become toxic. And our relationship with Him comes first as that is how we can make sure we are treating each other how He wants.
Here are some verses about the importance of companionship:
”Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him'” (Genesis 2:18, ESV).
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, ESV).
“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22, ESV).
“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:14, ESV).
May we raise our children in a manner that will allow them to have a healthy separation survival instinct. May we also teach them to value all relationships and friendships–especially the one they have with Jesus. After all, Jesus is our friend.
Yes, companionship is vital to our well being and survival!
Many Christians claim infants are “sinful” and “manipulative.” This is based on an inaccurate interpretation of Psalm 51:5 which states:
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5, NASB).
Even many Bible versions inaccurately translate this verse to say that David was “sinful” from birth. What I believe the verse is actually saying is that David’s mother was sinning when he was conceived. Other verses seem to contradict the church doctrine of infants being born “sinful.” Let’s look at some.
“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” ( James 4:17, NASB).
“Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it” (Deuteronomy 1:39, NASB).
“For sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law” (Romans 5:13, ESV).
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these'” (Matthew 19:14, NASB).
As we can see, infants and young children are not ever considered “sinful” in the Bible. We will all eventually sin in our lives and will need Jesus to save us from our sins, but infants do not even know what sin is, therefore, they cannot understand what sin is. They re so young and are totally in the present moment. They cannot plan ahead.
Also, if we truly observe infants in an objective manner, we’ll see that they are eager to interact with us. And as soon as they can physically do it, they will offer toys and food to us. It may be slobbery, but they love to share with us and interact with us.
A “sinful” infant wouldn’t get joy from taking turns with us and interacting with us. A “sinful” infant would never ever be satisfied with us. I must point out that some infants are born with special needs and can’t interact the way typical infants can. Other infants are very high needs. These infants are not “sinful.”
No infants are ever “sinful.” Infants are totally innocent. It is very important for us to understand that infants’ wants are also their needs. Infants are incapable of manipulating us during their first year of life. Yes, as they get older, they can wait a bit for a need to be met as long as we tell them we will meet it soon and follow through. But even wanting to be held is an actual need for infants.
Let’s do our best to treat infants in a manner that will allow them to keep their innocence for as long as possible instead of treating them harshly, making them learn to be selfish.
Cry-it-out means to leave an infant to cry alone without any type of response from us in order to sleep train.
Allowing infants to protest while we quickly do something that takes us away from them does not constitute cry-it-out especially if we communicate with them about what we must do. Our aim is not always to stop or prevent crying. Our aim is to validate them, support them, and be responsive to their needs.
Since crying is an infants only way of communication, leaving them in a dark room to cry releases huge amounts of stress hormones to their brains. Sure, they eventually stop and sleep when left to cry-it-out, but it’s not the healthy sleep people believe it is.
Rather, their brains are literally shutting down from stress due to crying so hard. Then the learned helplessness sets in. Infants learn to mistrust themselves and their caregivers when their cries are not consistently and respectfully responded to. Just because allowing them to cry “worked” and they appear fine, doesn’t mean damage didn’t occur.
As an early childhood professional, I cannot recommend cry-it-out ever. Infants need a response when they cry. A little fussing with our support as they fall asleep is ok, but outright ignoring their cries is not. Dr. Bruce Perry, Dr. William Sears, and many others have done research showing that cry-it-out is extremely harmful.
Infants should have consistent bedtime routines such as a warm bath, nursing or bottle feeding, singing, and a book read to them. Children thrive on routines because routines are flexible in order to meet the children’s needs. Schedules are not designed to meet children’s needs. They are more for adult’s convenience. Eating and sleeping should revolve, mostly, around the infants needs. Catching infants before they become over tired can help them fall asleep easier. Also, some families may find safe co-sleeping helpful in nighttime parenting.
I was surprised to discover that some Christians believe that they can “train” their children to love Jesus. Frankly, I find this a bit disturbing because how can one “train” children? They’re not animals. And when Christians say train, it usually means a great deal of corporal punishment is being used as in the Michael Pearl style.
I don’t want to get to involved in what the Hebrew meaning of “train” is for this post as I believe the Christians claiming that they must “train” their children are using “train” wrongly anyway.
Can you truly train anyone, let alone children, to love? Does God train us to love Him?
According to the Bible, we are not trained by God to love Him.
“We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19, KJV).
And how did He show us love?
”But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NASB).
No, God never “trains” us to love Him because that would pretty much be forcing us to love Him. God prefers true love that can only come from deep within our hearts because we have seen and felt God’s love for us. He is gentle and patient while He waits for us to accept His great love for us and reciprocate it back to Him!
Another thing, young children have a special knowledge of Who God is. They already love Him.
“At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants'” (Matthew 11:25, NASB).
“From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease” (Psalm 8:2, NASB).
We just need to cultivate that knowledge and love for Him through reading His Word to them, including them in prayer and worship without forcing it on them, and, most importantly, showing them God’s amazing love by modeling it to them through treating them and others with compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and grace.
We don’t need to worry about “training” our children to love Jesus nor fighting for their souls. Rather, we need to worry about accurately portraying God’s loving character to them so that true love for God and others will last a lifetime!
Believe it or not, every generation complains about “today’s youth” being “out of control.” But, what drives me nuts about this is that many people claim that the reason children are “out of control” is due to a lack of spanking/hitting children.
I believe that in addition to children being treated harshly there is another huge reason why today’s society and youth seem so disconnected. Technology!
Yes, I said it, technology is one of the reasons why our society is so disconnected. The very thing that is supposed to keep us more connected is actually tearing apart human interaction. Go to any public place and observe the people. I can guarantee that the majority of the people are looking down at a screen instead of interacting with each other. Couples at a restruarant text or update their Facebook statuses instead of talking to each other.
What is even sadder is that I recently heard on the radio that children are getting hurt more often at playgrounds because their parents are too busy staring at their phones to even hear their children calling for help.
Here is an interesting study from an Exchange Everyday email:
“‘A new Chinese ad campaign illustrates the way smartphones can affect family life and relationship,’ reports The Huffington Post “Titled Phone Wall,” the campaign by Ogilvy & Mather China is a literal representation of the barriers to human relationships that screen addiction creates.’
Juggi Ramakrishnan, Executive Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mather Shanghai, told The Huffington Post, ‘We want people to see [these ads] and rethink their relationships with others and their phone in a different light. This is a definite pressure point that Chinese society is facing on its path of rapid development.’
‘This pervasiveness has the potential to be especially detrimental to families with kids,’ says Ramakrishnan. ‘There is an alarming trend of parents ignoring their children of all ages, paying more attention to their phones and tablets than their immediate surroundings. Consequently, children may feel they aren’t getting the attention they need…. Addiction to mobile devices can put a strain on romantic relationships as well, as partners may become less responsive to each other’s feelings and have fewer meaningful interactions.'”
Also, infants absorb and are affected by everything in their environments. It’s much better for a baby’s brain development to have music playing in the background rather than a TV. Another thing is that we are almost constantly exposed to violence thanks to the media. This is desensitizing us to violence and so many other disturbing things. Besides sex, violence is a common theme in our movies, television shows, music, and videogames. Plus, the news is constantly reporting acts of violence. We are so much more aware of violence whereas prior to when media was so prevalent people were not as exposed to or aware of the violence that was occurring and they could shelter themselves and their children from it because there was no television or Internet.
Children didn’t watch cartoons or play videogames filled with violent images like they do today. Because so many parents have to work full-time in order to survive today, children are being left alone with all this access to violent media with little guidance from busy, stressed out parents. Research shows that all of this exposure to violence is desensitizing children and adults to violence. Greven (1992), page 129, states:
“Research has demonstrated that television must be considered one of the major socializers of children’s aggressive behavior. Two major behavioral effects of heavy viewing of televised violence are: (1) an increase in children’s level of aggression; and (2) an increase in children’s passive acceptance of the use of aggression by others. Both aggression and apathy thus are intensified by an immersion in television violence although the roots of both undoubtedly are to be found in the life histories of punishment and abuse of those who view such violence with either indifference or enthusiasm.”
All this being said, I do understand that there is a time and a place for technology. If a parent or relative is far away, using Skype or FaceTime to help them see the child is perfectly fine. And once children become preschoolers, it’s ok to slowly introduce them to technology.
It’s just important to naturally limit technology by having plenty of other activities for children to do. This way, too, by not putting much focus on technology, we can avoid power struggles when it’s time for them to put it away. Always allow children to finish the game they’re playing or show/movie they’re watching before having them move on. I love this article by Janet Lansbury regarding introducing and limiting technology with toddlers. We need to be present while our children are using technology to protect them from all the evil things and people lurking on the Internet.
And, of course, technology is a must for children with special needs/disabilities. With my severe cerebral palsy, technology allows me to write and communicate with others whereas I otherwise would be unable to do so. Amateur radio is another great use of technology. It allows people to talk to each other over the airways.
In sum, technology definitely has valid uses. However, we need to stop allowing it to consume our lives. We need to be totally present with our children and intentionally interact with them throughout the day. Children should not have to compete with technology for our attention. Technology cannot substitute actual parenting. Nor is it fair to only interact with our children to spank/hit or otherwise punish them.
Do you want children to be kind, empathetic, and not self-entitled? Put down your phones, tablets, laptops, and other consumer electronics and model how to interact with people. Talk with your children. Let them see you actually watching them play. Stop spanking/hitting them and discipline (teach and guide) them. If you are a Christian, make Jesus the focus of your home rather than technology.
Greven, P. (1992). Spare the Child. New York, NY: Vintage Books.