MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It's not just our kids getting too much screen time these days. Parents are also guilty of spending too much time on their electronic devices.
Researchers at the Boston Medical Center observed 55 different groups of parents and young children eating at fast food restaurants. The study found the majority pulled out their mobile devices right away, and, in turn, their kids tended to act up more.
"It's just normal childhood behavior," said parenting coach Toni Schutta. "If I can't get your attention in a positive way, I'm going seek it in a negative way."
Suzanne Ferguson, of Minneapolis, said she and her husband used to be smartphone addicts, checking their emails around their kids.
"We were the couple that would go out to eat at dinner and both be on our own phones before we had kids," she said. "We're very much attached to our phones."
Schutta says parents spend, on average, 11 hours a day using electronic devices. All that time takes away from face to face communication, which helps kids learn behavior.
"Kids in preschool and kindergarten are no longer as able to read social cues from other human beings," Schutta said. "That's in part because of their own media use and it's in part because of their parents' media use, they're just not getting that training."
Too much time on technology can also leave an emotional impact on your child, if you're missing life moments for email.
"We get such a limited amount of time with our kids in the day, we need meaningful conversations," Schutta said.
Ferguson said once her daughter starting talking, it was the kick she needed to kick her phone habit.
"Dinner is a good time to have family time, so trying to keep the phone as much as possible away," she said
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