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New study: Parents too distracted by mobile devices

A new study shows parents are too distracted from their children by mobile devices.
A new study shows parents are too distracted from their children by mobile devices.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Parenting is a huge responsibility that requires much care and attentiveness, but a new study indicates many parents are being distracted from their children by a variety of mobile devices.

Dr. Jenny Radesky, a developmental behavioral pediatrics fellow at Boston Medical Center, conducted a study along with a team of researchers to find out how common it is for parents to use mobile devices around their kids.

The pilot study was published in the journal Pediatrics and yielded troubling results.

According to NBC News, researchers observed 55 caregivers, most commonly a parent, eating and interacting with children ranging from infants to 10 year-olds in fast food restaurants around the Boston area.

Forty out of fifty-five caregivers used a mobile device during the meal, and sixteen of the adults used the mobile device throughout the entire meal.

Many of the children tried to get the attention of their caregivers, only to be shushed or told to be quiet.

Sadly, there were also several instances where the children stared directly at their caregiver and tried to make eye contact, but when the caregiver glanced up from time to time they soon went back to the device--never making any eye contact with the children.

Dr. Gail Saltz, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital says positive interaction and engagement with your children during meals is vital.

Children who constantly see their parents glued to smartphones during dinner can feel insignificant, neglected, and insecure, Saltz said. “You’re going to miss a lot of those benefits of eating meals together.”

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