Healthy Kids: Technology and parenting

Author: WINK News

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Technology means work and outside pressures can’t be avoided at home, but these blurred boundaries may make it difficult to be present with kids.

Dr. Annette St. Pierre-Makoul joined us in the studio to discuss this and more.


Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics:

  • Looked at parental use of mobile technology around young children.
  • Caused internal tension and conflicts.
  • Resulted in negative interactions with their kids.
  • It’s a challenge for parents to balance the two.
  • Parental Struggles:
  • Feel like they are in more than one place at a time.
  • Feeling like they are still at work.
  • Keep up socially with friends and relatives.
  • Cook dinner and attend to their kids.
  • Boundaries are blurred!

Study Design:

  • Moms, dads and grandmothers were studied.
  • Internal struggle between multitasking phone, work and children.
  • Resulted in information overload and emotional tensions.
  • Family routines were interrupted, such as meal time.

Trickle-Down Effect:

  • Emotional response to info on mobile device …
  • Caused them to react to their children differently.
  • Children then had ‘attention-seeking- behaviors’ that …
  • Resulted in parents snapping negatively at the kids.
  • Positives of Mobile Technology and Parenting:
  • ‘Escape’ from the boredom and stress of parenting at home.
  • Ability to work from home.
  • Easier communication with estranged family members.
  • Allow children some independent time.
  • Feel relevant at work and other parts of life.

Negatives of Mobile Technology and Parenting:

  • Fewer verbal and nonverbal interactions with children.
  • Mobile technology is unpredictably demanding of attention.
  • Great emotional investment is also seen.
  • Parents are using mobile devices 3 hours per day (on average).


  • Set boundaries.
  • Create a family plan including unplugged spaces or times of day.
  • Track your mobile use.
  • Create a filter or block to avoid temptation.
  • Apps like ‘Moment’ and ‘Quality Time’ may help.
  • Identify top device stressors.
  • Use technology only when your children are occupied.

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