New Study Looks At Impact Of Cellphone Use By Parents

By Andrew Doud - RTV6
By Emma Koch - 21Alive

New Study Looks At Impact Of Cellphone Use By Parents

March 11, 2014 Updated Mar 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM EDT

UNITED STATES (RTV6) -- A new study shows overusing your smart phone could impact your child's development.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released the results Monday. Researchers surveyed 55 caregivers interacting with their children at fast food restaurants and how often they used their cellphones.

Of the 55, 40 picked up their phones during their meal.

Robert Nielsen, who ate at a St. Petersburg McDonald's with his grandson Monday, said he avoids using his phone when he's with his grandson.

"Basically if it rings I'll answer it, but I'm not going to call somebody while we're sitting there eating," Nielsen said.

He has a limited amount of time to spend with his grandson before he heads back to Texas, but right next to the Happy Meal was Nielsen's cellphone.

"Just because I didn't want it in my pocket," he said.

We also went into a Tampa Bay area Chick-Fil-A and saw one woman on her phone as a child tried to get her attention. She pulled back and continued to work on her phone.

Eckerd College psychology professor Marjorie Sanfilippo said it's a subtle gesture that could have a long term impact on the child's development.

"That's going to affect their attachment, that's going to affect their overall social development, how they expect the world to respond to them and how they expect to respond to people in the world," Sanfilippo said.

Sanfilippo said parents need to unplug.

"Children are going to learn more by what the parents do than by what they say," she said.




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