Curb kids' gadget use?

Apple shareholders urge the firm to carry out an iPhone addiction investigation

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NHS

Parents' phone addiction may lead to child behavioural problems

"Is our smartphone addiction damaging our children?," The Guardian asks, after publication of a recent study into "technoference" – when people switch their attention away from others to check their phone or tablet.

The study, carried out in the US, involved more than 300 parents who reported on their use of digital technology, to see if they felt it affected interactions with their children and actual child behaviours. A range of technology devices were studied, including computers, television and tablets – not just smartphones.

It found half of parents reported that their use of technology disrupted interactions with their child three or more times a day. Behavioural problems in children were linked to these disruptions, but only for mother-child relationships, not for fathers.

The authors suggest this could be because in the sample, children spent more time with their mothers, so the number of "technoferences" were greater, but the true reason is unknown. Most of us have experienced frustration or annoyance when somebody we are talking to suddenly breaks off to check their phone, so it is plausible that children go through similar emotions.

Children's behaviour can be affected by a variety of things, including life changes, the need for attention or parental mood. There is no one correct way to handle difficult behaviour but you could try talking to your child, being positive about the good things or rewarding good behaviour.

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