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Study: Parenting falters when smartphones are near

4:41 PM, Mar 10, 2014   |    comments
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New York, NY (CBS NEWS) All parents spend quite a bit of time on their mobile phones and a new study has found that sometimes they're paying more attention to their phone than their kids.

Minde Christensen is a stay-at-home mom and admits she gets distracted with her smartphone.

"As my kids are wandering around, I'll be checking Facebook and I kind of have that panic moment realizing they have gone out of your sight for a few minutes."

A new study in The Journal of Pediatrics took a look at the role smartphones play with parents and kids.

Researchers observed 55 caregivers with young children at fast food restaurants. Forty of the caregivers used mobile devices during their meal, and some seemed completely absorbed.

"All their attention, all their gaze was on a device. They rarely put it down to talk with other people within their group. They seemed to be more engaged in the device that with the children they cared for," says Dr. Jenny Radesky, a pediatrician from Boston Medical Center.

The children reacted two different ways: some accepted the behavior as normal others tried to get more attention.

"Start conversations, or maybe they acted more silly, or acted out," says Dr. Radesky.

Dr. Radesky says when parents are on the phone, their children lose out.

"Those moments of connection, kids brains are wired to learn from those."

Parent Minde Christensen agrees, even though she says it's easy to pull out her phone.

"Sometimes I just have to put it away. Put it in my pocket."

Some parents have found a better use from their smartphones -- capturing special moments with their kids.

The author of the study says she plans to collaborate with more researchers to do a more detailed study using video.

By Jericka Duncan, CBS correspondent

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