Are you an avid smartphone user? If so, then you need to take a deep dive into the article and should abstain self from using cellphones more extensively.

A recent study has revealed that mothers using smartphones extensively can actually upset the development of their toddlers. It showed that smartphone use cuts off the interaction between mothers and their toddlers by a factor of four, thus impacting their growth negatively. The findings are based on the study published in the Child Development Journal and under the authority of Dr Katy Borodkin of the Department of Communication Disorders at the Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions, Sackler Faculty of Medicine of Tel Aviv University, that examined 33 Israeli mothers and their 16 toddlers, all aged between 24-36 months.

For the research, the mothers were asked to check over a particular Facebook page and hit ‘like’ to those contents that amuse them, read printed magazines and mark captivating articles. Additionally, they were asked to play with their child when phones or magazines were not around. 

Borodkin disclosed that the mothers were unaware of the intent of the experiment. “So they behaved naturally by splitting their interest between the toddlers and the smartphone and magazines. We videotaped all the interactions between the mothers and the toddlers and later scanned the recordings frame by frame in an attempt to quantify the mother-child interaction,” she added, as mentioned by The Indian Express

The entrants were told that they were being noticed to examine the common interests between mothers and children. “Our goal was to simulate situations in real life where the mother has to take care of her child, while at the same time devoting some of her attention to her smartphone,” she continued. 

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The team described three bearings of the interaction between a mother and her toddler, viz maternal linguistic input- the expressive content mother conveys to the child, conversational turns- interactivity level of mother-child verbal exchange, and maternal responsiveness- the idiosyncrasy of mother’s response to any particular action of her child. 

It was revealed that all three aspects were two to four times lower when the mother was using a smartphone or reading a magazine. “Moreover, they exchanged fewer conversational turns with the toddler, provided less immediate and content-tailored responses, and more often ignored explicit child bids,” the study observed.

Furthermore, the findings declared smartphone use and magazine reading are equally distracting. It, however, made its stance clear that as of now there is no solid evidence supporting the relationship between hindrance on child’s development and smartphone use. It is also to mention that not only do mothers using smartphones hampers a child’s development but the research may also be applicable to father-child interaction. 

“In our current research we focused on the mothers, but we believe that our findings characterise communication interferences between fathers and their toddlers as well, since the smartphone usage patterns are similar between men and women, thus allowing us to estimate with high probability that the research findings are applicable to fathers and to mothers,” she said.

(With inputs from The Indian Express)