I continue to hear educators echo my concern about distracted parenting.
It will be years before we have long-term data on how cell phones impact parenting, but we now have at least one study warning that disruptive caretaking (ie. parent on cellphone when interacting with a child) might impact brain development.
Research from the University of California at Irving was done with rodents – so as I mentioned, we’re a long way from drawing conclusions relevant to children – but data shows that predictable and unpredictable maternal care can impact brain development.
Even the early conclusions from this research underline what we already know: children need predictable routines. Rituals, routines, traditions – all of those give a child a sense of safety and security.
A parent who carries on a half-hearted conversation with a child while on the phone, isn’t emotionally present to pick up signals from a child. As a result, the child has fragmented care and attention.
Does this impact a child’s brain development? We’ll see, but stay tuned.