London- Parents who are constantly checking their phones for texts, and emails may be more likely to have kids who misbehave than people who are able to step away from their screens, a small US study suggests.
Researchers examined survey data from parents in 170 families with young children and found mothers and fathers who were more likely to report being distracted by technology during playtime were also more likely to see behavior problems in their kids.
Lead study author Brandon McDaniel of Illinois State University in Normal said: “Prior studies have shown us that some parents can be quite absorbed by their devices and that when they are absorbed it seems like it is difficult for children to get their attention.”
McDaniel noted that no prior studies however had linked parent technology use, especially use that interrupts or interferes with parent-child interactions, with child behavior problems specifically.
Among other things, the surveys asked about how often smartphones, tablets, laptops and other technology disrupted family time with interruptions like checking phone messages during meals or answering texts in the middle of conversations. Parents were also asked to rate how problematic their personal device use was based on how often they worried about calls or texts and whether they thought they used mobile devices too much.
While both mothers and fathers thought technology use distracted from interactions with their children at least once a day, the women perceived their phone use as a bigger parenting problem than the men.
The study published in the journal Child Development said that about 48 percent of parents reported technology interruptions at least three times a day, while 24 percent said this happened twice a day and 17 percent said it occurred once daily. Only 11 percent said technology never interrupted family time.
Researchers also asked parents to rate the frequency of child behavior issues within the past two months by answering questions about how often their children whined, sulked, easily got frustrated, had tantrums or showed signs of hyperactivity or restlessness.