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Kids Feel Unimportant to Cell Phone-Addicted Parents

The Short of It

Nearly one-third of children feel unimportant when their parents use their cell phones during meal times, conversations, TV watching and playing outside, according to a recent study.

The Lowdown

A June study by AVG Technologies surveyed more than 6,000 children, ages 8 to 13, from Brazil, Australia, Canada, France, The United Kingdom, Germany, The Czech Republic and the United States. The survery discovered that 32 percent of children felt unimportant when their moms and dads were distracted by their phones. The kids said they had to compete with technology for their parents' attention, and 28 percent of mothers and fathers agreed with this observation.

"I do feel like the balance between the degree to which I use my mobile device to stay connected to work and my ability to be more present, available to my family, is quite out of balance," one of the parents in the study said.

In addition, 54 percent of the kids think their parents spend too much time on their phones. Fifty-two percent of moms and dads agreed with their children and worried that they were setting a bad example for their kids.

"With our kids picking up mobile devices at an increasingly younger age, it is really important that we set good habits within the home, early on," said Tony Anscombe, senior security evangelist at AVG Technologies. "Children take their cues from us for everything else, so it is only natural that they should do the same with device use. It can be hard to step away from your device at home, but with a quarter of parents telling us that they wished their child used their device less (25 percent), they need to lead by example and consider how their behavior might be making their child feel."

The Upshot

We're the first generation of parents with 24/7 access to phone calls, email, the Internet, and more, right there in our pockets or purses. It can be hard to navigate this crazy connected world we find ourselves in and remember that the digital universe can wait while we interact with the people with us in the present moment. We as moms and dads need to put down our cell phones and focus more on our kids. They are more important than the latest work email or what's trending on Twitter. Let's make sure they know it.

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