Parenting in the age of technology distraction
The Doc Smitty examines smart phone use and injuries
Do you wish that mom at the park would parent her child so you don’t have to?
Oh, there she is, over there checking out Facebook.
Are you nervous every time her kid climbs up the ladder he might fall down and injure himself?
She’s still playing Candy Crush. Ok, let me rescue her kid from the top of the slide.
There’s new evidence to suggest that there may be some truth to your concern.
A recent study from Yale Economics professor Craig Paulson showed that, from 2005-2012, unintentional injuries in children aged 0-5 increased. He was able to correlate the increase in injuries with the expansion of 3G cellular networks across the country. Many of these injuries occurred during times of parental supervision (not day care or with other caregivers). There was no similar increase in injuries of children aged 6-10.
This trend is the opposite of the overwhelming decrease in unintentional childhood injuries since the 1970s.
While there could be other explanations of this trend, clearly distracted parenting is becoming more of a problem in today’s world.
Here are some things to think about:
- You will underestimate how long you will be looking at your screen. Even if you look away for one task, that task will take longer than you think and you are likely to get sidetracked by something else.
- Injuries in children often take mere seconds to develop. There may be no build up from independent play to dangerous predicament in the time it takes to read and respond to a text.
In any situation, you should be aware of how much time you are spending with your smartphone.
About the author
Justin Smith, M.D., is a Cook Children's pediatrician in Lewisville . He attended University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School and did his pediatric training at Baylor College of Medicine. He joins Cook Children's after practicing in his hometown of Abilene for four years. He has a particular interest in development, behavior and care for children struggling with obesity. In his spare time, he enjoys playing with his 3 young children, exercising, reading and writing about parenting and pediatric health issues.