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Technoference: Behavior Problems in Children and your Smart Phone

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Do you ever get frustrated when your significant other looks down at their phone?  So does your child. A New study in Child Development reports that when parents are constantly interrupted by technology, their kids are most likely to misbehave.  Nearly 50 percent of the 170 parents studied were interrupted by technology at least three times a day while talking with their kids. The authors call it “technoference” and they say that the more often parents reported technoference, the more tantrums and behavior problems that children displayed.  

The study points out that turning toward a device might also be a coping strategy for parents who need to quickly de-stress because they are already frustrated with their kids behavior.  

Here are some easy steps to stay in check when dealing with your own technoference.

1) Make eye contact.  Reassure that the child is more important to you than the device.

2) Slot in some device-free time.  When you can leave your phone in another room or out of reach so that you are not tempted to check it.

3) It is always safer.  Being alert and giving your child your full attention means they are less likely to get hurt when you are looking away.

4) Live in the moment.  Kids are amazing so try to share the moment with them before sharing it with your social network.


Written by Dr. Michael Duong

Dr. Duong received his bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry at San Jose State University. He then attended Pennsylvania College of Optometry and received his Doctor of Optometry in 2009.
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