I hate to admit it but I definitely have done it. It's so hard to balance work and family and stay off your phone when you're around your kids.
ABC reports that researchers from Boston Medical Center went undercover in 15 local fast food restaurants to observe nature's parenting playground. Watching silently from a distance, they observed the interactions between family members, noting in particular the reactions children had when mom or dad punched away at the portable keys.
"It's just like people watching, basically, except we were taking very detailed notes about observations," said Dr. Jenny S. Radesky, a fellow in developmental behavioral pediatrics at Boston Medical Center and lead author of the study published in the journal Pediatrics.
Parents in 40 of the 55 families observed were absorbed in their mobile devices, according to the study. They seemed more distracted when they were typing and making swiping motions with the fingers than when making phone calls. And almost a third of the parents used their devices continuously throughout their meal.
Now, what I think is interesting is that some kids didn't even notice while others acted out to get their parents' attention. Our kids shouldn't have to fight for our attention when we're right next to them. We should be able to eat in a restaurant without using our smartphone.
My big concern is the message we're sending to our kids.
How many of you have seen teens at restaurants on their smartphones? I just raised my hand.
When parents do it, kids do too. We're sending our kids the message that it's okay to ignore us.
The reports authored noted: "The conclusion I wouldn't draw from the study, is that we need to completely remove these devices when we are with our children," she said. "But it does raise the issue that we need to create boundaries for these devices when we are with our children."
So parents, are we trying too hard to balance work and life that we've let our smartphones interfere with family time?