Driving while distracted is definitely frowned upon. Being distracted while on a date? A total no-no. Most Americans can even agree that technology distractions should never occur at work.
So it should not really surprise that many people now that the new study from Pediatrics has come out confirming that parenting while distracted by a smart phone made parents less attentive.
While it might seem obvious, the 2013 non-participatory observation-based study found that caregivers at local fast food restaurants were less attentive to the children in their care if they were using their smart phones. These caregivers were also more likely to react negatively when the children made bids for their attention.
According to one of the researchers working in this study, Jenny S. Radesky, MD, of Boston Medical Center, it was interesting that when a caregiver was absorbed in his or her device, some kids were unfazed and entertained themselves while others increasingly acted out in order to get the attention they wanted from their caregiver.
Those bids for attention were often answered with negative responses from the caregivers.
Study researchers observed children and their caregivers eating in fast food restaurants in 15 neighborhoods in Boston. They watched 55 caregivers who were with children who ranged in age from infant to elementary school age.
Forty of the caregivers engaged with a mobile device during the meal. Sixteen caregivers were seen as having "continuous engagement" with their device.
These caregivers included those there with another adult as well as those who were the sole caregiver, both men and women, and people of all age groups.
The overall message of this study is that parents who are distracted by technology are ... distracted from parenting.
Simple enough. However, the broader idea that is being conveyed is that limiting screen time is not just something parents need to do for their kids, but it is something they need to do for themselves too.