Your undivided attention is a valuable commodity, whether you expend it having lunch with a friend, working an important project at work or certainly when it comes to how you interact with the members of your family. Often, technology does not help. Just think about the cell phone most likely within your arm's reach all day long. Is it a tool which helps you be more productive, or do you feel as if you're under its control? If you're a parent, know this: How you use your phone definitely has an effect on your kids.

Your child learns less when you're distracted with your phone

Kids with strong language skills do better in school, and they acquire that ability by having back-and-forth conversations with adults. "A problem therefore arises when the emotionally resonant adult--child cueing system so essential to early learning is interrupted--by a text, for example, or a quick check-in on Instagram," writes Erika Christakis, for The Atlantic, citing several studies in which interactions between caregivers and children were analyzed. Researchers have repeatedly found that verbal and nonverbal interactions between adult and child decrease--as does learning--when adults tap and swipe a cell phone instead of paying attention to the kid in their presence.

Half the parents reading this actually text and drive with their kids in the car

Everybody knows this is terribly dangerous, yet according to a study conducted by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, half of parents use their phone while driving with kids in the vehicle. Researchers surveyed 760 parents and caregivers of children aged 4 to 10 about how they used their phones in the car within a three-month period. About a third admitted to reading text messages, one in four sent texts and one in seven used social media. In addition to the obvious safety issues involved with distracted driving, the study authors say this kind of behavior may be negative role modeling which will result in kids who grow up to text and drive themselves.

Parents who allow phones to interrupt family interactions have kids who act out more

Researchers from Illinois State University and University of Michigan Medical School studied nearly 200 families and found a link between excessive parental cell phone use and behavior problems in kids. About 40 percent of mothers and 32 percent of fathers indicated they had some level of phone addiction, such as compulsively checking messages, ruminating about calls or texts or just believing they overly use the device. Nearly half of the families said their interactions with children were typically interrupted by devices at least three times daily, a phenomenon researchers named "technoference." And, the families with the most of this technoference also reported that their kids exhibited more behavior problems, such as sulking, whining, hyperactivity and throwing fits.

Published on: Dec 5, 2018
The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of