Distracted Parents Raise Inattentive Kids, Study Finds

30 April 2016
Distracted Parents = Inattentive Kids. (Eek)

Checking your phone whilst hanging out with your child - it's something most parents are guilty of at least some of the time.

Whether you're a full-time parent having a sneaky social media fix in between playing with your kid, or a working mum or dad keeping an eye on your emails whilst pushing your little one on the swings at the park, I think most parents (or at least the honest ones) find that using a phone whilst on parenting duty is fairly unavoidable.

But brace yourself for yet another attack of parental guilt because now experts are suggesting that being distracted by technology when you're hanging with your kids has a high chance of affecting their capacity to concentrate. Oh man.

The Telegraph reports:

Psychologists said they have found the first direct connection between how long a parent pays attention to a toy and the impact this has on their child's concentration.

The study, published in the journal Current Biology, has implications for how a child goes on to perform at school, they added.

Interestingly, though, it seems we can also try too hard when it comes to joining in with playtime because the kids whose parents tried to set the lead for playtime also had lower attention spans.

So apparently we should avoid distractions - especially technological ones - whilst playing with our kids, but also let them take the lead when it comes to what and how we play with them. No pressure, then.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this story. If you're winning at life when it comes to not getting distracted whilst spending time with your kids, we want to hear how you do it.

And equally if giving your kids your full attention without distractions - digital or otherwise - is something you struggle with, feel free to hold your hands up to that. Maybe we can reassure one another that we're doing the best we can and that's probably good enough…

TOPICS:   Parenting Tips


  • Lisa K.

    All these studies need to do one, everyone parents different it doesn't mean they are doing it wrong. As long as the child is fed, clothed and loved, nothing else matters.

  • Paula S.

    Too much pressure on us these days, everyone is just doing the best they can and we carry enough guilt and worry without these stupid studies making us feel worse!!

  • JD E.

    What is so wrong with people being different to one another? All these studies seem like an absolute waste of time. Just let parents be parents. As long as they aren't abusive in some way and do the best they can what's it matter

  • Annmarie D.

    And the days of "children should be seen and not heard" were any better??? Studies show that patents carry enough guilt for little everyday choices without the need for more!

  • Kay W.

    We live in such a 'blame culture' nowadays. Articles like these really aren't needed :rolling_eyes::rolling_eyes:

  • guest

    I let my 16 month old play on his own so I'm a bad parent I'm in the room but I have things called housework to do these research shit needs to do one as long as my son is happy I don't care

  • Mandi E.

    Phone in a different room, that's how I avoid it. My phones usually upstairs while I'm downstairs being bossed about by my 1 & 2 year olds :joy::joy::joy:

  • Rachel L.

    Its a blood hard job being a parent im so pleased these muppets got a manual! Where would we be with out them!

  • Mummypiper

    I can guarantee you that if I devoted my entire time to the attention of my children then pretty soon after I wouldn't get to give them any as social services would take them away as I would have a filthy house, empty fridge, dirty clothes and no money(can't give them attention if I'm at work).

    This "research" is a joke...

  • Leyla J.

    For goodness sake !! Let us be parents of our own choosing!

    • Emma B.

      Totally agree! The money for this mindless 'research' could be used for much better causes too!! X

  • Karen G.

    So did I read this right, parents that habitually ignore their children damage them? Someone researched this? Funded this? That's like research shows short people aren't tall! I definitely check my phone in front of my kids, I also play with the younger one, read to him, help the older ones with homework, chat to them about their days. It's just called normal life! They don't have every second of my time, they do get a good amount of it though.

  • Tina R.

    Well I'm fkd cos I just read this whilst my kids play. Look at me everyone this is what a bad mum looks like :joy:

  • Kerry D.

    Everyone is reading this article whilst their children are playing! The person who wrote it probably did as their child was playing too!! Why don't the people who do this research on our well looked after, loved and privileged children do some research on what's happened to the missing refugee children in Calais or the teenage girls still missing in Africa instead?

  • Angela H.

    Remember years back whilst mum cleaned, baby was in a crib, until they were three! She didn't have time to dedicate to the child's every waking second, they were put to bed early too! Were all of those children distracted I wonder?

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