Is Technology Making You A Bad Parent? The Problem With Distracted Parenting And Its Effect On Your Kids

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald March 21, 04:00 am
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Distracted parenting is when moms and dads mind their gadgets more than their own children.
(Photo : Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Is technology making adults bad parents? Experts have coined the term "distracted parenting" to describe moms and dads who cannot look away from their smartphones or tablets even as they are supposed to be minding the children.

It's something that's happening in most families and it's not hard to miss. Moms and dads having dinner with their kids are looking at their cellphones instead of having conversations over food. Moms and dads are glancing at their gadgets at ballet recitals or Little League games, so they could likely miss their children's shining moments.

Developmental-behavioral pediatrician Dr. Jenny Radesky said that even before technology accelerated, parents already have plenty of distractions around them. The difference, however, was that distractions from using gadgets and the internet become habit-forming and could take up one's time too much emotionally as well, according to New York Times.

For many adults, devices help release stress and maintain their connection to life outside of family or work. There are pitfalls, however, with too much use especially for parents of younger children.

A study published in Jan. 2016 showed the long-term consequences of distracted parenting, as per Time. Researchers did a controlled experiment on mice in a distracted environment. They learned that mice babies that had distracted mice moms failed to develop patterns of behaviors. Researchers related their findings to humans and why children have to have undivided attention from their parents.

"We need patterns for the visual system to develop," Dr. Tallie Baram said. "I guess we need predictability and consistency for the emotional system to develop."

So, what's the solution for distracted parenting? Moms and dads have to make an effort to put the phone down or turn off their gadgets when they are minding the children. They have to engage them in actual conversations and stimulate their senses.

Besides, there are also safety and security reasons to consider. If parents aren't keeping a good eye on their kids on the playground, for example, they might fall and hurt themselves.

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