Nav: Home

Digital devices during family time could exacerbate bad behavior

June 13, 2018

Heidelberg | New York, 13 June 2018

Parents who spend a lot of time on their phones or watching television during family activities such as meals, playtime, and bedtime could influence their long-term relationships with their children. This is according to Brandon T. McDaniel of Illinois State University and Jenny S. Radesky of the University of Michigan Medical School, both in the US, who say so called "technoference" can lead children to show more frustration, hyperactivity, whining, sulking or tantrums. The study in the journal Pediatric Research, which is published by Springer Nature, examines the role and impact digital devices play in parenting and child behavior.

Technoference* is defined as everyday interruptions in face-to-face interactions because of technology devices. Recent studies estimate that parents use television, computers, tablets and smartphones for nine hours per day on average. A third of this time is spent on smartphones, which due to their portability are often used during family activities such as meals, playtime, and bedtime - all important times involved in shaping a child's social-emotional wellbeing. When parents are on their devices research shows that they have fewer conversations with their children and are more hostile when their offspring try to get their attention.

In this study, 172 two-parent families (total of 337 parents) with a child age 5 years or younger answered online questionnaires as part of a research project about parenting and family relationships conducted between 2014 and 2016. Participants indicated how often per day different devices interrupted their conversations or activities with their children. Parents rated their child's internalizing behavior such as how often they sulked or how easily their feelings were hurt, as well as their externalizing behavior, such as how angry or easily frustrated they were. The parents also reported on their own levels of stress and depression, the coparenting support they received from their partners, and their child's screen media use.

In almost all cases, one device or more intruded in parent-child interactions at some stage during the day. Technology may serve as a refuge for parents who have to cope with difficult child behavior. However, the survey results showed that this tactic had its drawbacks. Electronic device use likely deprives parents of the opportunity to provide meaningful emotional support and positive feedback to their children which causes their offspring to revert to even more problematic behaviour such as throwing tantrums or sulking. This only added to parents' stress levels, likely leading to more withdrawal with technology, and the cycle continues.

"These results support the idea that relationships between parent technoference and child externalizing behavior are transactional and influence each other over time," says McDaniel. "In other words, parents who have children with more externalizing problems become more stressed, which may lead to their greater withdrawal with technology, which in turn may contribute to more child externalizing problems."

"Children may be more likely to act out over time in response to technoference as opposed to internalize," adds Radesky, for whom the findings corroborate mealtime observations of how a child's bad behavior often escalates in an effort to get the attention of their parents using mobile devices.
-end-
*Note: The term "technoference" was originally referred to in the following article: McDaniel, B. T., & Coyne, S. M. (2016). "Technoference": The interference of technology in couple relationships and implications for women's personal and relational well-being. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 5, 85-98. doi: 10.1037/ppm0000065

Reference: McDaniel, B.T. Radesky, J.S. (2018). Technoference: Longitudinal Associations between Parent Technology Use, Parenting Stress, and Child Behavior Problems, Pediatric Research DOI: 10.1038/s41390-018-0052-6

Springer

Related Stress Articles:

Captive meerkats at risk of stress
Small groups of meerkats -- such as those commonly seen in zoos and safari parks -- are at greater risk of chronic stress, new research suggests.
Stress may protect -- at least in bacteria
Antibiotics harm bacteria and stress them. Trimethoprim, an antibiotic, inhibits the growth of the bacterium Escherichia coli and induces a stress response.
Some veggies each day keeps the stress blues away
Eating three to four servings of vegetables daily is associated with a lower incidence of psychological stress, new research by University of Sydney scholars reveals.
Prebiotics may help to cope with stress
Probiotics are well known to benefit digestive health, but prebiotics are less well understood.
Building stress-resistant memories
Though it's widely assumed that stress zaps a person's ability to recall memory, it doesn't have that effect when memory is tested immediately after a taxing event, and when subjects have engaged in a highly effective learning technique, a new study reports.
Stress during pregnancy
The environment the unborn child is exposed to inside the womb can have a major effect on her or his development and future health.
New insights into how the brain adapts to stress
New research led by the University of Bristol has found that genes in the brain that play a crucial role in behavioural adaptation to stressful challenges are controlled by epigenetic mechanisms.
Uncertainty can cause more stress than inevitable pain
Knowing that there is a small chance of getting a painful electric shock can lead to significantly more stress than knowing that you will definitely be shocked.
Stress could help activate brown fat
Mild stress stimulates the activity and heat production by brown fat associated with raised cortisol, according to a study published today in Experimental Physiology.
Experiencing major stress makes some older adults better able to handle daily stress
Dealing with a major stressful event appears to make some older adults better able to cope with the ups and downs of day-to-day stress.

Related Stress Reading:

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
by Martha Davis (Author), Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman (Author), Matthew McKay (Author)

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook broke new ground when it was first published in 1980, detailing easy, step-by-step techniques for calming the body and mind in an increasingly overstimulated world. Now in its sixth edition, this workbook, highly regarded by therapists and their clients, remains the go-to source for stress reduction strategies that can be incorporated into even the busiest lives.

This new edition is updated with powerful relaxation techniques based on the latest research, and draws from a variety of proven treatment methods, including progressive... View Details


The Stress Management Workbook: De-stress in 10 Minutes or Less
by Ruth C. White PhD MPH MSW (Author)

Reduce your stress in 10 minutes or less with the practical exercises and quick strategies in The Stress Management Workbook.

Learning how to manage your stress shouldn’t be stressful. With The Stress Management Workbook you’ll get the relief you need in a time frame that works for you. With concrete exercises that require no more than 10 minutes each, The Stress Management Workbook will help you build sustainable stress management skills for significantly reducing stress―now and for the future.

In The Stress... View Details


The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living
by Amit Sood (Author), Mayo Clinic (Author)

Have you ever driven several miles without noticing anything on the road, or read a page in a book without registering any of it? Do the day's worries and disappointments crowd your mind as you're trying to fall asleep at night? Do you feel stressed much of the time and aren't sure how to find peace? In this book, Amit Sood, M.D., M.Sc., a Mayo Clinic specialist in stress and resiliency, reveals how the mind's instinctive restlessness and shortsightedness generate stress and anxiety and presents strategies for living a more peaceful life. The book is based on the highly popular stress... View Details


The Stress-Proof Brain: Master Your Emotional Response to Stress Using Mindfulness and Neuroplasticity
by Melanie Greenberg PhD (Author)

“For people suffering from stress, this book is a godsend.”
Kristin Neff, PhD, author of Self-Compassion

"Highly recommended for mental health professionals and consumer health readers looking to manage stress."
Library Journal (starred review)


Modern times are stressful—and it’s killing us. Unfortunately, we can’t avoid the things that stress us out, but we can change how we respond to them. In this breakthrough book, a clinical psychologist and neuroscience expert offers an original approach to... View Details


Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, Third Edition
by Robert M. Sapolsky (Author)

Renowned primatologist Robert Sapolsky offers a completely revised and updated edition of his most popular work, with over 225,000 copies in print

Now in a third edition, Robert M. Sapolsky's acclaimed and successful Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers features new chapters on how stress affects sleep and addiction, as well as new insights into anxiety and personality disorder and the impact of spirituality on managing stress.

As Sapolsky explains, most of us do not lie awake at night worrying about whether we have leprosy or malaria. Instead, the diseases we fear-and... View Details


The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It
by Kelly McGonigal (Author)

Drawing from groundbreaking research, psychologist and award-winning teacher Kelly McGonigal, PhD, offers a surprising new view of stress—one that reveals the upside of stress, and shows us exactly how to capitalize on its benefits.

You hear it all the time: stress causes heart disease; stress causes insomnia; stress is bad for you! But what if changing how you think about stress could make you happier, healthier, and better able to reach your goals? Combining exciting new research on resilience and mindset, Kelly McGonigal, PhD, proves that undergoing stress is not bad for... View Details


Stress: The Psychology of Managing Pressure
by DK (Author)

Covering sources of stress in every area of life: work, exams, relationships, social pressure, money, and more, this practical guide combines infographics and self-analysis questionnaires to make information easy to access and apply.

This dynamic infographic program, founded on cutting-edge psychological research, enables you to deconstruct and deal with stress head-on. Stress: The Psychology of Managing Pressure helps you identify external and internal sources of stress in your life and reframe unhelpful patterns of thought into powerful psychological solutions that you can... View Details


Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome
by James L. Wilson (Author), Jonathan V Wright (Foreword)

This is an incredibly informative and reader-friendly book about a common debilitating medical condition that goes largely undiagnosed and untreated. ADRENAL FATIGUE: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome is a very empowering work cram-packed with vital information about a condition that very likely affects millions of people. View Details


Stress-Proof: The Scientific Solution to Protect Your Brain and Body--and Be More Resilient Every Day
by Mithu Storoni (Author)

Discover simple, science-based strategies for beating stress at its own game

When’s the best time to exercise – and how much is too much?
Which foods fortify the brain, and which do the opposite?
How can we use music, movement, and motivation to boost our rational brain and keep our cool no matter what life throws our way?
 
Short bursts of stress are an inevitable part of modern life. But how much is too much? Research is uncovering the delicate balance that can turn a brief stressful episode into systemic overload, eventually leading to inflammation,... View Details


A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
by Bob Stahl (Author), Elisha Goldstein (Author), Saki Santorelli (Afterword), Jon Kabat-Zinn (Afterword)

Stress and pain are nearly unavoidable in our daily lives; they are part of the human condition. This stress can often leave us feeling irritable, tense, overwhelmed, and burned-out. The key to maintaining balance is responding to stress not with frustration and self-criticism, but with mindful, nonjudgmental awareness of our bodies and minds. Impossible? Actually, it's easier than it seems.

In just weeks, you can learn mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a clinically proven program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Full Catastrophe Living. MBSR is effective in... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Person You Become
Over the course of our lives, we shed parts of our old selves, embrace new ones, and redefine who we are. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the experiences that shape the person we become. Guests include aerobatics pilot and public speaker Janine Shepherd, writers Roxane Gay and Taiye Selasi, activist Jackson Bird, and fashion executive Kaustav Dey.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#478 She Has Her Mother's Laugh
What does heredity really mean? Carl Zimmer would argue it's more than your genes along. In "She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Power, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity", Zimmer covers the history of genetics and what kinship and heredity really mean when we're discovering how to alter our own DNA, and, potentially, the DNA of our children.