New Study: Children’s Behavior Affected by Parents’ Cell Phone Use


In an increasingly mobile world, it is common for us to check our cell phones.  But does checking a cell phone affect children’s behavior?  A new study has compelling results.

The study monitored 170 families.  Typically, the families consisted of two parents and at least one child.  On average, the children were 3-years old.  A majority of the parents were in their early 30’s.  Parents periodically filled out questionnaires.  These asked how often they experience “technoference” with their children.

“Technoference” is described any time a parent felt their attention was diverted by technology while they spent time with their children.  They also asked parents to rate children’s behavior.

The results:

48% – 3 times or more per day

24% – 2 times per day

17% – 1 time per day

11% – Never

There was a strong correlation between technoference and behavioral problems.  Bad behavior included whining, sulking, and temper tantrums.

“…even low and seemingly normative amounts of technoference were associated with greater child behavior problems.”

There was also an increase in how much the children used technology.  In some cases, this is good.  For example, using technology benefits educational development.  However, there are also downsides to frequent use of technology.  The most common are hindrances to physical and social activity.



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