Smartphone Use By Parents

Smartphone Use By Parents

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Image: – – Macho Spouse

 

PattMSShirt_edited.jpgWe know many of us use smartphones for several hours through the day for either work, study or play.  mrdad.com recently had a blog post about a smartphone study. 

 

Many a parent has turned to a smartphone or tablet during a restaurant outing with children. How does this mobile device use affect parent-child interactions?


In a qualitative analysis, researchers sought to describe patterns of how caregivers and children use mobile devices around each other.

In the study, “Patterns of Mobile Device Use by Caregivers and Children During Meals in Fast Food Restaurants,” published in the April 2014 Pediatrics (published online March 10), researchers observed 55 caregivers eating with 1 or more young children in fast food restaurants.

The researchers wrote detailed field notes, describing how the caregivers used their mobile devices and how they interacted with the children. Researchers described how “absorbed” the caregiver was in the device, how children responded when caregivers used a device and how caregivers managed this behavior, and co-viewing or shared use of devices by caregivers and children.

Caregivers who used devices ranged from having the device on the table to almost constant absorption with the device throughout the meal. Some children accepted the lack of engagement and entertained themselves; others acted out in a bid for attention. 

The study raises several questions for future research, including what types of activity (eg, work, entertainment) on mobile devices are associated with the highest levels of caregiver absorption, and what are the long-term effects on child development from caregivers who frequently become absorbed with a device while spending time with their children.

From the journal Pediatrics.

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I'm not depressed, I just want to be alone!

img-roland-220x130.pngDuring deployment, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression. According to WebMD, some of the symptoms of depression are:

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Now, we also have to understand that there is a difference between simply being sad and depression. There is going to be, in most cases, a period of sadness and change associated with deployment. This is normal. It is not uncommon for people to have some of the symptoms of depression, yet not be suffering from depression.
 
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Living OCONUS

Winegar_2.jpgNot too long ago, a Facebook friend and fellow military spouse posted how much she missed living in the U.S. We had a three year overseas assignment several years ago, and so I could relate to this post. I remember missing “home” too. 

Personally, our family had the opportunity to live in Germany for three years.  We visited many wonderful countries and I would not trade that opportunity for anything, but we also missed Texas, our friends and family.  Since we had a house on the economy, many times I would take our daughter to places like “The Kids Zone” (think “Chuck E. Cheese”) and we enrolled her in activities on post, such as ballet and soccer.  One of the biggest opportunities living overseas offered to us was for our daughter to enroll in German Kindergarten at age three.  She had a great time and quickly picked up the language (but even with proactive efforts and good intentions, maintaining those skills in the US is very difficult).



 

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