Jenny Radesky
Jenny Radesky

Smartphone-obsessed Parents May Mean Cranky Kids

By Amy Norton, HealthDay Reporter 6/20/18

Parents who take refuge in their smartphones when their kids throw a tantrum may, in the long run, make matters worse, a new study suggests.

The study, of 183 couples with young children, found that stressed-out parents often turned to their electronic devices when dealing with their kids. And when that was a pattern, their kids’ behavior typically worsened over the next several months.

Researchers said the findings do not prove smartphones are to blame.
But they also said the study raises concerns about what some researchers call “technoference” — where parents are less present for their children because digital devices are constantly vying for their attention.

“Young children can be hard to ‘read’ as it is,” said researcher Dr. Jenny Radesky. “It’s really difficult to read them when you’re distracted by something else. In general, when you’re toggling between different things, you’re not as good at any of them.”

Children, in turn, get frustrated when mom and dad appear to be withdrawing from them into a device. “They may learn that they have to act out to get attention,” said Radesky, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School, in Ann Arbor.

Click on the title link to read more of this article, originally published in Health Day.

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