Dangers of distracted parenting

Dangers of distracted parenting

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It's a day and age when we're always expected to be "on" and sometimes that means checking your email, while your child plays on the floor next to you.

A new report shows being distracted while our children are young, can be damaging.

"Every human in America is much busier than we used to be, and unfortunately that has affected our parenting negatively, overall," said Psychiatrist, Dr. Victoria Kelly.

Toledo parents Stacy Hand and Antonio Hawkins said they always spend quality time together, but sometimes it is hard peeling their eyes away from their phones.

"I just have to put my phone down. Wait for it to die," said Hand.

"I've got to snap out of it, see what they're doing," Hawkins added.

We know we're supposed to limit our kids' screen time, but experts say we have to limit ours as well. Dr. Kelly said between the ages of zero and five, children need to reach certain developmental milestones in order to be fully functional later in life and they need our full attention to do that.

"When a parent is distracted and they're not focusing, making eye contact, and especially talking to their infant, that can have negative consequences down the road," said Dr. Kelly.

Dr. Kelly said the disconnect sends a strong message to babies, from the very beginning.

"It sends the message that they're not not wanted, that we don't value them, and basically that our phones deserve more attention than them," she said.

She added that that can lead to a child not being able to appropriately respond to joy, which can be associated with depression and anxiety later in life.

She also said, undivided human interaction has shown to help children academically.

"How many words are spoken to and with a baby, language is one of the biggest prognostic factors for school and academic achievement later," said  Dr. Kelly.

Her advice? She says to set a family media plan that everyone in the house sticks to, to remind you of your priorities.

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