It’s no secret that more people are addicted to their tablets and smartphones than ever before, and while we’ve acknowledged that letting our kids have unlimited access to screens can be detrimental to their emotional and mental health…what about letting them see us have unfettered access to screens?
It’s not so good, either.
A recent study suggests that, in households where family time is interrupted by parents picking up their phone or tablet, children are more likely to exhibit behavior problems like oversensitivity, hot tempers, hyperactivity, and whining.
Brandon McDaniel, the study’s co-author, believes his findings should be seen as a piece in a bigger puzzle of how technology is affecting parent-child relationships.
“In our study, we controlled for a variety of factors, such as parent stress, depression, coparenting quality, and child screen use. This seems to suggest that there is something meaningful here, even though the data is cross-sectional.”
This study joins others that have shown that children of technology-consumed parents are more likely to display attention-seeking behavior, and one animal study that found distracted rat parents permanently impaired their children’s ability to experience pleasure.
This recent study, which was published in Child Development, gathered data from 170 two-parent families. More than half of them reported three or more technology interruptions per day, while only 11% reported no technological interruptions at all.
So watch yourselves, and take personal inventory. You might be interrupting time with your children more often than you think – and it might be costing your family as a whole.