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The good side of parents’ phones



New study shows that cell phones come with many benefits

phones, parents, awareness, time

Cell phones have long been characterized as harmful devices that distract parents from engaging meaningfully with their children. But a new study suggests that cell phone use may actually help with parenting as long as the parent isn't immersed in the device while the children are present.

So, firing off a quick text message to a friend, quickly looking up a recipe or glancing at a funny meme, even while children are sitting right nearby, Eleanor Goldberg Fox of Insider.com writes, can actually benefit a parent by giving them a break while they're still physically with their children. She points out that data also suggests that momentary distractions are typically followed by "an intensive burst of highly attentive parenting," according to the study’s researchers.

“The key is keeping the phone from displacing time with children or making kids feel like they're competing with the phone for a parent's attention,” Goldberg Fox writes. “At low levels of family disruption and family conflict, more parental phone use was associated with higher-quality self-report parenting.”

The new study, based in Australia, acknowledged that there are potential downsides to using a phone while with children. “Starting from the hypothesis that 'smartphones are a problem' and looking for confirmation of that hypothesis, we were asking-what are the patterns?" its authors said.




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