October 24, 2016 – Parents’ Smartphone Use Affects Relationship With Children, Study Finds
Parents’ use of smartphones may be a reason for conflicts, negative interactions and tensions with their children, according to a small study published Wednesday. The results also showed that reading work-related emails or bad news at home affected their behavior with children.
The study was conducted by University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center on 35 caregivers that included mothers, fathers and grandmothers. Researchers conducted interviews with them and found that the participants often complained about multitasking smartphone use, work and children, affecting their family routines such as meal time.
Furthermore, the findings showed that adults would get overwhelmed after reading bad news or seeing work-related emails, to an extent that their response toward their children would be affected. Children also sought more attention when their parents were engrossed in their smartphones. This, the study found, led to negative communications such as yelling or retorting at children.
“Parents are constantly feeling like they are in more than one place at once while parenting. They’re still ‘at work.’ They’re keeping up socially. All while trying to cook dinner and attend to their kids,” study lead author Jenny Radesky, M.D., a child behavior expert and pediatrician at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, said in a statement.