New Modern Malady: Texting While Parenting

It's one plausible explanation for the spike in injuries to little kids
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2012 2:24 PM CDT
Text away, but don't forget about your kid.   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, FILE)

(Newser) – Parents of young kids, keep your phones in your pocket while at the playground: The Wall Street Journal today looks at the maybe-problem of "texting while parenting." Skeptics will note that the evidence is mostly anecdotal, but they'll have to explain a strange coincidence of stats: The number of injuries to kids younger than age 5 rose 12% between 2007 and 2010, which is odd because the figure had been falling for years before that. Meanwhile, the number of smartphones has exploded in the same span, from about 9 million to 114 million.

"What you have is an association," says an expert in pediatric injuries at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "Being able to prove causality is the issue. ... It certainly is a question that begs to be asked." More circumstantial proof: Generally speaking, the kinds of injuries on the increase—those involving playground equipment, especially—mesh with the notion of a distracted parent. Also striking is that the double-digit increase in the percentage of injuries applies only to kids younger than 5, those most reliant on a parent keeping close watch. Full story here.

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