Big Percentage Of Caregivers Get Absorbed And Lose Track Of Children In Their Charge

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Children trying to get their parents’ attention have some serious competition.

You could call it “distracted parenting,” when mom and dad pay more attention to their smartphone than their kids, CBS 2’s Jericka Duncan reported Monday.

Minde Christensen is a stay-at-home mom and admits her smartphone can be distracting.

“As my kids are wandering around that I’ll often be checking Facebook or my email and there have been times that I haven’t known where my children are,” Christensen said.

A new study in the journal Pediatrics took a look at the role smartphones play with parents and kids. Researchers observed 55 caregivers with young children at fast food restaurants and found that 40 of the caregivers used mobile devices during their meal – and 16 seemed completely absorbed.

“They seemed to be more engaged with the device than with the children they were with,” said Dr. Jenny Radesky of Boston Medical Center.

The children reacted two different ways — some accepted the behavior as normal, while others tried to get more attention.

“They tried to start conversations. Maybe they acted more silly or acted out,” Dr. Radesky said.

Radesky said when parents are on the phone, their children lose out.

“Those moments of connection, or those face-to-face interactions, kids’ brains are wired to learn from those,” Radesky said.

Christensen agreed, even though she said it’s easy to pull out her phone.

“Sometimes I just have to put it away, put it in my pocket, push him on the swings and kind of really be engaged. It’s a very conscious decision,” Christensen said.

Some parents have found a better use for their smartphones, capturing special moments with their kids.

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