Israeli scientists sound alarm over smartphones' impact on children

Israeli scientists are sounding the alarm over the impact of smartphones on children

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Smartphone use threatens the development of children by reducing the time and quality of interaction between mothers and their babies.

This is the conclusion Israeli scientists from Tel Aviv University.

According to them, this can damage the development of babies and have even more serious and far-reaching consequences.

Several dozen mothers of babies participated in the experiment between the ages of two and three, who were asked to complete three tasks: view a specific Facebook page, like videos and articles that interest them, read print magazines and flag articles of interest, and play with a child without smartphones and magazines. < br />
“Our goal was to simulate real life situations where a mother should take care of her baby while giving some of her attention to the phone. We videotaped all of the interactions between mothers and babies, and then scanned the recordings frame by frame, trying to quantify the interaction between mother and child '', & ndash; said Dr. Katie Borodkin.

Researchers have identified three components of the mother-child interaction. The first to be examined was the maternal language content & ndash; the set of words that the mother passes on to the child, which largely determines the development of language skills and vocabulary in the child. Low linguistic content of the mother leads to a decrease in the child's vocabulary, which is noted even in adulthood.

The “ turns of the conversation '', that is, the degree of interactivity of the conversation between the mother and the child, was also investigated. This indicator is an indicator of the future linguistic and social development.

After that, the researchers tested the mother's reaction to the child's calls – the speed and content of her response.

“We found that all three components of the mother-child interaction were reduced by a factor of two to four when the mother read print magazines or viewed material on her smartphone. In other words, mothers talked to their children four times less when taking care of their phones. Moreover, they were less likely to exchange remarks with the baby, gave less rapid and less meaningful responses, and more often ignored the children’s calls. When they were engaged in a dialogue with children at the same time as watching a social network, the quality of responses decreased – mothers reduced their reactions to a minimum in order to somehow maintain communication with the babies '', & ndash; added by the doctor.

Equally interesting is the fact that no difference was found between viewing content on a smartphone and printed text. “ We did not find that one medium was more distracting than another, but it is clear that we use smartphones more often than any other medium, so they pose a serious threat to the development of children. It should be noted that we currently do not have research that has already provided us with evidence on the developmental implications of smartphone use by parents – this is a relatively new phenomenon. However, our results are a clear warning about the negative impact of smartphone addiction on the fundamentals of child development. Inappropriate mother-child interaction can have far-reaching negative consequences. ''

In conclusion, Dr. Borodkin adds: their babies. Smartphone use patterns are the same between men and women, which makes us very likely to believe that the study's findings apply to fathers as well as mothers. ”

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