Fort Worth, Texas,
12:06 PM

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.

Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club  and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Smith is an experienced keynote speaker for a variety of topics including pediatric/parenting topics, healthcare social media and physician leadership. If you are interested in having Dr. Smith present to your conference or meeting, please contact him at

He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.


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