Study: Smartphones during family time can increase bad behavior in children


new study finds that parents who use their smartphones to escape the stress of dealing with a child’s bad behavior might be making it worse.

>> Read more trending news 

When parents are on their devices, they have fewer conversations with their children and become more hostile when children try to get their attention, researchers from Illinois State University and University of Michigan Medical School found

The new study, published in the journal Pediatric Research, studied nearly 200 two-parent families with children under age 5.

The parents documented how many times per day that devices interrupted conversations or activities with their children, between the years 2014 and 2016. They rated their child’s reaction to this behavior, such as how many times they sulked or said their feelings were hurt. 

The parents also reported their own levels of stress and depression and documented their child’s own social media use.

In almost every case, researchers found that parent-child interactions were interrupted by a device at least once a day. 

Parents who spend a lot of time on their phones or watch television during family activities like meals, playtime and bedtime could have a lasting impact on their children, leading to more hyperactivity or whining.

Researchers said that technology often serves as a refuge for parents who have difficulty coping with a child’s bad behavior.

This can be a problem, researchers said, because becoming buried in an electronic device rather than giving emotional support or feedback to children might result in more behavior issues.

This only adds to a parent’s stress level, researchers said, leading to more technology use to avoid the situation. 

Parents use TV, computers, tablets and smartphones for about nine hours per day on average, according to recent research.

A third of that time is spent on a smartphone, which often interferes with meals, playtime and bedtime.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Powerball prize hits $430 million after no one wins jackpot Wednesday
Powerball prize hits $430 million after no one wins jackpot Wednesday

Two national lottery games – Mega Millions and Powerball – are sporting huge jackpots, topping a billion in total combined winnings. Update 12:52 a.m. EDT Oct. 18: The estimated jackpot for Saturday’s Powerball drawing has climbed to $430 million, according to the Powerball website. Update 11:30 p.m. EDT Oct. 17: No one won the...
Hurricane Michael crop damage estimates top well over $1 billion in Georgia
Hurricane Michael crop damage estimates top well over $1 billion in Georgia

Cost estimates for the damage to Georgia Agriculture after Hurricane Michael are well over $1 billion, according to a new report from Georgia Agricultural Commissioner Gary Black. >> Read more trending news  Hurricane Michael was the first major hurricane to hit Georgia since the 1800s. It moved through southwest Georgia last week after...
Disturbing video shows mom dunking baby's head under water
Disturbing video shows mom dunking baby's head under water

A 5-month-old girl is fine after police said her mother recorded herself plunging the baby's head underwater. >> Read more trending news  Laquanda Mosley faces charges including aggravated assault with intent to murder, first-degree child cruelty and terroristic threats after police said she recorded a video of herself holding her baby underwater...
In a surprise, Trump to ask for 2020 cuts in defense, domestic spending
In a surprise, Trump to ask for 2020 cuts in defense, domestic spending

Witnesses prevent suspect from kidnapping child at Orlando airport, police say
Witnesses prevent suspect from kidnapping child at Orlando airport, police say

A Florida man is facing charges after police said he attempted to abduct a child Saturday at Orlando International Airport.  >> Read more trending news  Kissimmee resident Alfredo Sanchez, 49, of walked up behind an 8-year-old girl, wrapped his arms around her waist and tried to walk away, authorities said. Witnesses said the child...
More Stories