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Texting While Parenting – A Dangerous Combination?

Valerie Fischel

Texting and driving has received a lot of attention in past years, rightly so, because it has been the cause of so many tragic and unnecessary accidents. Raising awareness through constant discussion and through campaigns like AT&T’s “It Can Wait” has hopefully forced people to curb their gadget obsessions, at least while they’re behind the wheel, but is gadget use also affecting one’s ability to parent well?   

A recent Wall Street Journal article entitled, “The Perils of Texting While Parenting,” brings light to another possible epidemic – parents not watching their kids because they are too busy texting, emailing, Facebooking…insert online activity of choice. Not only are gadget-obsessed parents not watching their kids, but there has been a noted rise in injuries to children under the age of five in the past few years. 

WSJ graphic

No direct correlation has been made between the two, but the WSJ aptly demonstrates the rise in gadget usage and the rise in injuries following a similar upward curve. What are most disturbing are the many personal anecdotes of parents and caregivers who admitted to not watching their kids. From falls to a kid who “almost got trampled over” to near-drownings, the stories are just frightening. 

Is it a case of kids naturally being curious, daring and hence, more accident-prone, or is it from the parents’ lack of awareness about their kids’ well-being because they have their eyes on a screen? 

According to the article, 

But many emergency-room doctors are worried: They see the growing use of hand-held electronic devices as a plausible explanation for the surprising reversal of a long slide in injury rates for young children. There have even been a few extreme cases of death and near drowning.” 

The article also quotes an ER doctor at the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, who says, 

"It's very well understood within the emergency-medicine community that utilizing devices—hand-held devices—while you are assigned to watch your kids—that resulting injuries could very well be because you are utilizing those tools." 

Sure you’ve seen parents on the playground using one hand to look at their phones while using the other to push their kid on the swings or give a little help up a ladder. But this article points to a possible trend of parents who are too digitally attached to effectively monitor their kids’ health and safety. For parents who can’t seem to break away from their devices while watching their kids, it’s worth tucking that phone out of sight while on kid watch to avoid yet another senseless accident. 

Have you ever witnessed any kids getting injured because their parents are too busy on their phones to monitor them effectively?





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