Study links smartphone use to poor parenting

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

March 14, 2014

DALY CITY, Calif. – Let’s face it. Smartphones are addicting. They can practically do everything for us.

We use them to communicate, watch movies, play games, and manage work.

But are we losing something in return for all this technological advancement?

According to a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Americans are becoming horrible parents because of spending too much time on their smartphones.

For this study, researchers observed a total of 55 groups of people who were eating at fast food restaurants in Massachusetts.

The groups were made up of at least one adult and at least one child.

Researchers discovered that parents were so glued to their phones during the meal that they failed to pay enough attention to their children and even became upset when their children called for their attention.

Researchers warn this could create an emotional gap between parent and child.

Daly City resident Carl Reyes, 29, has an eight-year-old son named CJ.

Like the study reports, Reyes is fully aware of how others parents are more occupied on their phones than their own children.

“I see it all the time at malls, baseball games, whatever, they are always constantly checking something on their phone,” Reyes said. “While you see their kids saying Mommy, Daddy, buy me this and they just keep walking, just totally neglecting their kid when they should be focusing on their kid. ‘Oh, what did you want?’ Being there, enjoying what they’re doing as a family.”

Reyes also admits that he has a tendency to spend too much time on his smartphone.

“If I get a text message from work or friends, there are times my son, from time to time, do that.”

According to the study, parents who use smartphones are neglecting their children. However, Reyes points out that the study is the same in reverse, where children on their phones ignore their parents and react harshly to them.

“My son gets distracted when he’s on anything,” Reyes said. “Hey you need to do this or hey you need to take a shower. When it’s bed time, we find him at 9 o’clock playing a video game or watching Youtube.”

His son CJ has a smartphone but Reyes makes it a rule that his son does not bring it to school, so he can concentrate on his studies.

But researchers say ultimately people have different parenting styles.

The study can only bring awareness to the distractions smartphones may cause.

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