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Researchers: Smartphones Taking Focus Off Our Kids
Written by Rachel McDevitt
Last updated on April 22, 2014 @ 7:02PM
Created on April 22, 2014 @ 6:01PM

If you have a smart phone, you're probably pretty attached to it. However, it might not be the best thing to have it out around your kids.

A new observational study shows that parents who put all their focus into their smartphones, are letting their kids miss out on important childhood development. The researchers watched 55 families at fast food restaurants over a period of a few months. Many parents apparently pulled out their phones right away, and that makes kids more likely to act out to get attention. More than that, getting sucked into your phone robs children of the face-to-face interaction they need to learn about their emotions and how to regulate them.

A separate team of researchers interviewed 1,000 children about their parent's smartphone use. Many of them used the words "angry" and "lonely" to describe how they felt about it, and that sometimes they felt boring because their parents would rather pay attention to their phones.

A local pediatrician said she sees this kind of behavior all the time and she agrees with the study's findings.

"It can definitely affect the child's development and self-esteem, as well as other issues," said pediatrician Mary-Ann Kroll. "They need to see a parent's face and their reaction in response to what they're doing so they know how to act and how to respond."

People in our area said they think our technology-based culture could hurt our kids in the long run.

"I don't think that children get the proper discipline that they normally would if parent's weren't using their smartphones constantly. They just want them to be quiet, push them away, so they act out a lot more than they normally would," said Marion County resident Holly Cunningham

Researchers said these study results aren't completely scientific, but parents should think twice before picking up their phones around their kids.


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