Babies

Your Kids Are Basically Throwing Tantrums Because You're On Your Phone Too Much

Your battery is dying and your kid is having a meltdown.

Kid having a tantrum? Get off your phone.

New research has found that parents spending too much time on their smartphones or tablets is negatively affecting their kids behavior.

The study from University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Illinois State University found that 170 moms and dads from two parent households using smartphones, tablets, laptops and other technology disrupted family time. Called “technoference,” checking texts, emails, chats, and social media during mealtimes and playtimes were somehow linked to tantrums and whining.

"This was a cross-sectional study, so we can't assume a direct connection between parents' technology use and child behavior but these findings help us better understand the relationship," says senior author and pediatrician Jenny Radesky, M.D. "It's also possible that parents of children with behavioral difficulties are more likely to withdraw or de-stress with technology during times with their child."

She adds:

”We know that parents' responsiveness to their kids changes when they are using mobile technology and that their device use may be associated with less-than-ideal interactions with their children. It's really difficult to toggle attention between all of the important and attention-grabbing information contained in these devices, with social and emotional information from our children, and process them both effectively at the same time."

Parents in the study were asked how difficult it was for them to resist checking new messages, and how often they worried about calls and texts. They were asked to determine if they used their phones too much. When they did, their kids’ behavior issues were linked to usage. Almost half of participants (48 percent) said there were three or more "technoferences" per day.

More research is needed, says the study, but it was determined that parents need to devote blocks of time to their phones, and time specifically devoted to focusing on the kids and only the kids.

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