A mother talks on her cell phone, ignoring her young son.
Children know when they don’t have their parent’s undivided attention. Research shows they act out more when they don’t get it, which increasingly concerns child behaviorists as they observe the first generation of children raised alongside their parents’ smartphones.
It’s common to see children trying to get their parent’s attention while they’re glued to a BlackBerry and just as common to see parents use the phone as a babysitter to distract their children. Some researchers think this is a big shift in the way parents relate to their children and are already seeing what they think is a direct result in relationship issues and attention-deficit problems.
Others researchers, however, disagree and see new technology as just another distraction in a long history of distracted parenting.
Do you set guidelines with your children? Could you unplug from your digital life?
Frederick Zimmerman, professor, School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles,
Betsy Brown Braun, child development and parenting expert