‘Plugged In’ Parents Lose Quality Time With Kids

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a common scene on the playground: a parent pushing a swing and talking on the phone.

Technology can compromise the quality time we have with our kids.

Dr. Kathy Kelley, a child psychiatrist believes “Even if people want to be unavailable, there’s the pressure to be available.”

That pressure can come from a boss, a friend, or other family members.

Kelley added, “You can hear that text message come in that you’ve been waiting for and all of a sudden, your thought is broken. You’re separate. You’re not as connected.”

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.

Being connected is what quality between a parent and a child is all about. Talking is the best interaction a parent can have with their child.

Dr. Dana Suskind says the amount of language a child hears before the age of three is critical to their development. It’s also important for the relationship in general, she added.

It’s not just smart phones causing distractions. Many parents can get so absorbed in their computers and laptops that they lose sight of what their kids are doing.

Max Sinclair often wondered where his mother was, but then would think “She is probably in the computer room, or out on the porch with her laptop.”

Meredith Sinclair finally put a self imposed ban on her gadgets between 4 p.m.-to-8 p.m. each day.

Max said, “It’s great. It’s really fun because now she hangs out with us, and likes to play football with us.”

Experts say to avoid trying a total ban.

Not only would a parent miss too many important emails and notices, but they might also get resentful.

It’s not surprising parents are conflicted when one considers the amount of media the average adult uses has exploded.

It was about five hours a day back in the 1960’s.

Today, that number has surged to 12 hours, with much of it being done at the same time, such as watching TV and using the Internet.

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