Here's What Your Cellphone Is Doing to Your Kid

textingAt any given moment, at any given place, when you look around, people are staring down at their phones. It's as if their glowing screens hold the key to life. And sadly, many of these entranced people are parents -- with kids who are right nearby. It's no secret that the widespread use of smartphones and technology is, for lack of a better phrase, turning us into much crappier, awkward people. But think about the poor kids! How do you think our obsession with tiny devices is affecting them? (Hint: Not good.)

A new study has found that when parents who are out to eat with their children spend the majority of the meal looking at their phone, bad things happen. As in their kids start acting out (more than kids normally do at restaurants) and ruin the meal for everyone else around them.

That's not enough to make you put down your phone? Check out these other negative effects of using your phone around your kids.


1. Your phone is turning your child into a disobedient brat. Okay, I'm being hyperbolic. But researchers at the Boston Medical Center found that when parents whip out their phones when eating at a restaurant, particularly a fast food restaurant, their kids begin acting up. (IE, your phone addiction is ruining everyone in the whole place's meal!) "It’s just normal childhood behavior," said parenting coach Toni Schutta. "If I can’t get your attention in a positive way, I’m going seek it in a negative way."

2. Kids are losing their ability to read people. Because parents can spend up to a whopping 11 hours a day using electronic devices (ew!), their kids are getting worse at reading social cues. (How could they not be their when parents are perfunctorily answering their questions in a monotone voice while staring at their screen?!) Children in preschool and kindergarten have sadly become so accustomed to both their parents using their iPhones, etc., and using them themselves that they're "just not getting that training" anymore, said Schutta.

3. Your smartphone is turning your child into a no-personality weirdo who refuses to talk. Okay, that's a mean way of phrasing it, but according to a recent study, when parents are constantly on their phones around their kids, children don't develop vocabulary as they otherwise would, because, duh, the key to children's conversational skills is having conversations. It's also been speculated by experts that kids' social and emotional skills are affected, in addition to their conversational ones. 

4. Kids who are constantly around texting parents are freaked out by other people! As we all know, the pervasiveness of communicating via text and email is causing many to lose social skills, but did you ever think of the impact it might be having on kids? During the course of a 15-year study of children ages 5 to early 20s, researchers found that the kids who grew up with technology actually feared (yes, feared!) interaction with others. (Remember when playing with other kids was the greatest thing on Earth?!) Many of the children in the study had become so accustomed to "talking" to their parents via texts that phone conversations even freaked them out!

5. When your nose is buried in your phone, your kid will get hurt. In recent years, ER injury visits for young kids have seen an unsettling upturn, and it's speculated that it's due to parents being distracted because of their phones. Think long and hard how you'd feel if your kid fell down and cut his head because you were looking at somebody's nails on Instagram. Not cool.

Do you use your phone around your child?


Image via Jason Edwards/National Geographic Society/Corbis

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