Mobile Device Use = Behavior Problems

Posted on Jun 11, 2017

By Dr. Wilson:

This article from the Washington Post talks about a research study that points to something we all have observed in practice… The more time parents spend distracted on their phones/tablets, the more problems there tend to be in their children’s behavior.

In case someone cannot access the article due to paywall I’m including some quotes below:

Children whose parents spend time on mobile devices have more behavior issues

The study involved 170 two-parent families with at least one child older than 1 (average, 3 years old). Most mothers and fathers were in their early 30s. Asked to assess how often phones, tablets, computers and other technology devices diverted their attention while they were spending time with their children, such as during meals, playtime or other activities (described as “technoference”), nearly half (48 percent) of the parents said this happened three or more times on a typical day. Twenty-four percent said it occurred twice a day, 17 percent said it happened once daily and 11 percent said it never happened. As technoference increased, so did children’s behavioral problems, such as whining, sulking, restlessness, temper tantrums and acting out. The children’s own use of devices (their screen time) also increased. The researchers wrote that “even low and seemingly normative amounts of technoference were associated with greater child behavior problems.”

Find this study

Online in Child Development (; click on “Publication Titles” and search for “Child Development”; then, on the journal’s home page search for “technoference”).

Learn more

Recommendations on children’s use of technology are available at (search for “screen time”). Information on adults’ exposure to technology can be found at ­ (search for “record shares of Americans”).


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