Study: Parents distracted by devices around kids



Posted on March 10, 2014 at 8:44 AM

Updated Monday, Mar 10 at 9:01 AM

New research suggests some parents are missing key opportunities to interact with their kids because they're distracted by devices, like smartphones and tablets. 

A new Boston Medical Center study, published in Pediatrics, observed 55 caregivers while eating with young kids at fast food restaurants. 

Researchers found about 72 percent of caregivers used their devices during the meal. Some were almost constantly on their mobile devices, while others just had the device out on the table. According to the study, some children accepted the caregiver's distraction and entertained themselves. However, others acted out, vying for their caregiver's attention. 

Smartphone Use in United States 

  • More than 60 percent of all adults have smartphones in U.S.
  • Young adults (20’s-30’s) use smartphones most (80 percent)
  • Parents are clearly motivated to have smartphones in U.S.

What Parents Need to Know

  • Distractions can lead to child safety issues (driving, supervision)
  • Device use may change parenting style and temperament
  • Make digital breaks a habit – it may be the only way

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