Parents, Look at Your Kid, Not Your Smartphone

Pediatrician pleads for parents to put down their phones
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2014 10:35 AM CDT
Parents, Look at Your Kid, Not Your Smartphone

A pediatrician's plea in the Washington Post for parents to put down their smartphones and make actual human contact with their kids might be worth it for the opening anecdote alone. Jane Scott explains that a dad brought his 2-year-old boy into her office, each absorbed in his own phone. When Scott explained to the boy that he had an ear infection but that medicine could fix him up, he took in the news, picked up his phone, and asked, "Siri, what is an ear infection?" That he turned to Siri instead of his dad got Scott thinking not just about how much time kids spend on their phones, but what kind of example their parents are setting.

"This might seem absurd to today’s parents, who feel like they give themselves to their children in ways previous generations never imagined," she writes. "But the undivided attention that children need from us is in jeopardy." Scott cites troubling studies about distracted caregivers—who often don't realize they're distracted—along with first-hand evidence she sees in her exam rooms of kids raised by parents who are present in body but not mind. "In an era of constant distraction, we must decide what’s more important: heeding the constant ping of our devices, or telling our children, in word and deed, 'I am listening. I am here. And there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.'" Click for her full column. (More parenting stories.)

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