SPECIAL REPORT: Distracted Parenting

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – When it comes to children’s development, some doctors say parents should worry less about kids’ screen time and more about their own.

News 12 Now Taylor Bishop takes a look at kids’ development when using technology, and why doctors are concerned about tuned-out parents.

We’ve all heard of distracted driving, but what about distracted parenting?

“Distracted parenting is that instance in which a parent is so focused on their electronic device, usually their cell phone or a tablet. That they kinda ignore their child”

Doctor William McGee is the Clinical Director in Chattanooga. He says with technology constantly changing, so has parenting.

“Given the number and percentage of folks that have cell phones regardless of age, I would say it probably happens a lot. For some parents it may just be one of those brief things and then their child gets their attention, and it’s kinda like.. oh okay this is what I need to be doing. For other parents it’s kinda like leave me alone.”

While mobile devices allow us the freedom to work remotely from a child’s soccer game, there is a dark side to the flexibility that our mobile devices afford us; mainly we get sucked in.

“The main impact of distracted parenting if it happens very often is that it begins to interfere with that parent child relationship.”

Recently in Signal Mountain, police have seen first hand the affects of distracted parenting and distracted driving.

“Fortunately it hasn’t been the students that have been the issue it has been parents.”

Chief Williams says it can be a matter of life or death when a parent looks at their phone while driving, and especially with kids in the car.

“Stay off the phone, pay attention when your getting near a school or where officers are directing traffic; and watch what they are trying to tell you to do or not do. It only takes one time.”

Studies published in the Journal of Child Development reports that parents who are highly tech-distracted have children with higher rates of acting out through misbehavior, attention seeking and aggression.

“Hitting the floor, hitting stuff, screaming, I’ve seen toddlers and young children throw things when they are trying to get their parents attention. Something, they are going to do something to get their parents attention.”

McGee says most parents don’t realize the emotional toll this takes on their child.

Reporting in Chattanooga, Taylor Bishop News 12 Now.

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