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PhasmaFelis t1_izzbrb1 wrote

I can personally confirm that this has the same effect on middle-aged adults.


TheRiverOtter t1_j0210ms wrote

We have a strict "no screens at the table" policy during meal times. It's been most difficult to enforce with the boomer grandparents.

Mom, you flew over 2,000 miles to hang out with your grandkids, you don't need to play Candy Crush right now.


NevyTheChemist t1_j02antf wrote

But they were the ones always scolding you for playing the Nintendo.


legos-legos-legos t1_j02x8tm wrote

My parents won an SNES shortly before I was born and after a week my dad sold it to a friend because they were worried about how much time they were spending on it.


Wagamaga OP t1_izy3hoo wrote

It’s a scene many parents have experienced – just as they’re trying to cook dinner, take a phone call or run an errand, their child has a meltdown.

And sometimes, handing a fussy preschooler a digital device seems to offer a quick fix. But this calming strategy could be linked to worse behavior challenges down the road, new findings suggest.

Frequent use of devices like smartphones and tablets to calm upset children ages 3-5 was associated with increased emotional dysregulation in kids, particularly in boys, according to a Michigan Medicine study in JAMA Pediatrics.

“Using mobile devices to settle down a young child may seem like a harmless, temporary tool to reduce stress in the household, but there may be long term consequences if it’s a regular go-to soothing strategy,” said lead author Jenny Radesky, M.D., a developmental behavioral pediatrician at University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

“Particularly in early childhood, devices may displace opportunities for development of independent and alternative methods to self-regulate.”

The study included 422 parents and 422 children ages 3-5 who participated between August 2018 and January 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic started. Researchers analyzed parent and caregiver responses to how often they used devices as a calming tool and associations to symptoms of emotional reactivity or dysregulation over a six-month period.

Signs of increased dysregulation could include rapid shifts between sadness and excitement, a sudden change in mood or feelings and heightened impulsivity.

Findings suggest that the association between device-calming and emotional consequences was particularly high among young boys and children who may already experience hyperactivity, impulsiveness and a strong temperament that makes them more likely to react intensely to feelings like anger, frustration and sadness

“Our findings suggest that using devices as a way to appease agitated children may especially be problematic to those who already struggle with emotional coping skills,” Radesky said.


Literatelady t1_j0029v1 wrote

This is really interesting but it makes me wonder about the other distraction techniques we use with children. I was babysitting my nephew and he started crying his eyes out for his mom so I tried to comfort him but I could see he was getting more and more agitated so I used the good old distraction technique. "Hey bud, you excited for Christmas? What are you hoping to get from Santa?" I wonder if that's also problematic. My mom did this all the time to me as a child (distraction) and I wonder if that's why I'm so bad at processing or dealing with emotions.


helm t1_j0169qg wrote

No, distraction is good. What you did was distraction by shifting attention of thought, not by one specific external thing (screen entertainment). Distracting with snacks also works short term, but leads to problems long term (snacking as a coping strategy).


TheRiverOtter t1_j020fpu wrote

> snacking as a coping strategy

This is the one my wife struggles with. Her family always had lots of sweets around when she was growing up. Rewards for good behavior and pacification were done through food.

We're being extremely deliberate with our twins about rewards being extra "one-on-one time" going on adventures or playing with mom or dad. We still do sweets and screen time, just not in connection with behavioral triggers. When they are upset we make a point to talk through the emotions.

We do have a hidden stash of kids books in our closet that we use as bribes / rewards when absolutely necessary (getting over the fear of a doctor visit), which has baffled other parents that we can "get away with bribing our kids with books".


JamesRobertWalton t1_j02z9bo wrote

Nah, a distraction like that can be good for a young child, so long as it’s not the only technique you use over time. A young child crying over their parent not being present is just a sign of separation anxiety. It’s nothing like giving a misbehaving child a reward (mobile device) to make them stop misbehaving (which is what I think the parents in the study were often doing), though one still shouldn’t give a child a mobile device, as the study states it likely stunts a child’s ability to cope with certain emotions. I’ve known many adults who have undergone immense emotional stress over an event & they often find a distraction in a project or hobby. It may not be perfect, but it helps keep them from dwelling on the stressful event &/or doing something extreme.


M4XVLTG3 t1_izy9h15 wrote

It's almost as if multiple generations raised by television have the same issues.


hexbatch t1_izyv9pq wrote

Here the tv is much smaller and more interactive


rarokammaro t1_izzz4ou wrote

Okay but our parents didn’t crack out the TV in the middle of a restaurant. The amount of children I see plugged in with headphones on an iPad during what is supposed to be a family activity is absurd. They’re growing up disengaged from everything they do with their parents.


AgentOrange2814 t1_j00bff0 wrote

This is so true. My wife and I are adamantly against getting any sort of tablet whatsoever for our daughter. She’s 18 months now and even though it can be hard to take her places like a restaurant for a meal, the practice is already starting to pay off as she is getting much better at it each time we go.

Our friends however are not that way at all. They are currently on vacation with their kids and almost every photo they’ve sent us, their kids are glued to their tablets. It’s insane.


International_Bet_91 t1_j00ikd7 wrote

İn my grandma's generation "hugs" were the scapegoat.

That generation was told not to hug their kids when they cried because it would make them dependent on mother's hugs, unable to self-soothe.

That goodness the new scapegoat is just digital tech!


Kalapuya t1_izzsdmv wrote

Emotional disregulation is entertaining, but kids don’t realize that’s not actually how you’re supposed to behave.


GrandPriapus t1_izyeoc2 wrote

In the past 5 years I’ve seen an increasing number of kids who can’t self regulate and lack basic emotional self-control. I’ve long suspected mobile devices-as-pacifiers might be the reason.


SolarStarVanity t1_izzpqtc wrote

Emotional self-control is frankly something I saw a frightful lack of when I first came to the States. Long before smartphones. I wouldn't be surprised if what you were seeing was just a result of you getting older, as opposed to something categorical changing in the nation's children. Self-control has never really been adequately rewarded here.


Kalapuya t1_izzs6xg wrote

I’m an American and I totally agree, but I couldn’t even see it until I was nearly 40 with my own kids.


Larcombe81 t1_izz7pdz wrote

Maybe it’s not the screens- maybe it’s their parenting style? Another take: Parents incapable of co-regulating with their children don’t help their children learn how to self-regulate. Or maybe it’s the screens.. or both, or a combination?


EFisImportant t1_j01qb14 wrote

I would say both. Parental warmth also effects the EF and academic achievement of children.


Odd-Turnip-2019 t1_izygi1f wrote

"good, good" tech giants say, rubbing hands together maniacally


healthierlurker t1_izyp9pt wrote

It’s lazy parenting and I see it so much with Gen X and older millennials. My 40 y/o cousin gives her 8 year old daughter an iPad and old iPhone whenever she wants and even at restaurants just to keep her occupied. It’s just lazy parenting and we can all see how it negatively impacts the child.

I’m 29 and have two infant sons and my wife and I already decided that we aren’t giving them access to any electronics until they’re older and it will be heavily monitored.

My 31 year old brother and his 33 year old wife don’t even let their 8 month old look at screens at all, not even a TV. They’ll literally cover his eyes if they pass one. It’s excessive and I don’t agree with that level of restriction but I definitely agree with them that screen time for a child in any amount is harmful.


lookmeat t1_izz9bch wrote

Lazy parents have always been a thing for all generations, they all show it. If you see it more in Gen X and millennial, it's more because baby boomers in their 50s forward and late Milleanials/Early Zoomers in their very early 20s tend to have less children due to age.

And it's not about lazy parenting. Certainly there's better parents and worse parents out there. It's tired parenting. We live in a society that is not friendly to having families and children. I'm glad you have made the decision to control and regulate. I hope that, when you get home after an all-hands that kept you at work until 8pm, and have the 4 year olds fighting and having a tantrum, while Mom herself is just exhausted after trying to mediate a conflict that must simply be let to happen, that you'll find the strength to not put a pause on the conflict and give them media devices, but will instead, somehow, find the strength to be a good parent at that moment too. And if you don't, please don't feel bad. It's a marathon, it's 20 years, humans make mistakes, it's about doing the best you can. And maybe it'll get hard with guests, I've certainly seen it where the guests themselves get uncomfortable (but guess what, kids are rude, inconsiderate, and waaaay to energetic, it's easy to judge hard to actually do).


PopPopLolliop t1_izzmv5l wrote

Please come back in 3 years and tell us if you made it…


TheRiverOtter t1_j022gb6 wrote

It's brutal, and sometimes it feels like having one arm tied behind your back.

Our twins will be 6 soon. Starting at about 4 and a half they get 30-60 minutes free time on their iPad a week, but in the last few months they can also use reading apps on them with mom or dad daily if they'd like. We've been consistent, and they rarely ask / whine about getting more time. We don't watch TV (aside from Planet Earth and similar shows every couple weeks), and we are just now starting to introduce movies.

The movie thing is mostly because that's almost certainly going to be a part of sleep-overs and we want them to have the concept of long-form entertainment during social gatherings. It may have backfired a bit with one of them, he's very emotional and isn't desensitized, so he can just about handle the tension in Disney's 1961 Incredible Journey.


healthierlurker t1_j026pt0 wrote

This sounds like how I’d like to do things with my twins. I don’t want them to be repressed and weird, and I also think it’s important they are familiar with technology, but I don’t want to cross the line of giving them unfettered access or plopping a screen in front of them to just shut them up either.

Tbh I think the way my parents handled us wasn’t right either and I would spend hours and hours on video games but there were other games I think were appropriate too (Freddy Fish, Pajama Sam, for instance).


Floshey t1_izzvpmp wrote

“Ignoring your children has consequences”


Intelligent_Pie_3814 t1_izz8re8 wrote

Don't be too hard on yourself as a parent when your littles use TV and other digital content for coping and fun. I had no idea about the repercussions of it until I was on my #2. We still allow the children TV but minimize it. They also have tablets with games and some pre downloaded shows we use for specific times. It's all balance and moderation :)


katarh t1_izzr2sb wrote

The other problem is they assume the phone is theirs whenever they want it.

Nothing quite as startling as using a phone that belongs to a friend and then having their toddler yank it straight out of your hands.


plankmeister t1_j01ce7d wrote

Was on a ferry a while ago. A family was sat in the restaurant, all of them staring into their devices, even the baby who clearly wasn't even a year old yet. When their food came, the parents made a half-assed effort to take the devices away, and all three kids just started wailing, so the parents just rolled their eyes, tutted loudly, and gave them the devices back. Then they all sat and ate their food while staring into their devices, the parents, too.

It was clear that all they've done is reinforce in their kids that if they create a ruckus, they get their devices back.


Chalkarts t1_izzxh16 wrote

They’re also conditioned to be addicted to the dopamine machines.


RebelLemurs t1_izz3a67 wrote

Man, that's going to be super inconvenient when digital devices all simultaneously disappear for no reason.

Or maybe the world our kids live in won't look like the world we live in, and their challenges will similarly differ.


BarfKitty t1_j00zdyx wrote

Digital devices as a way to self regulate "disappear" when you are in school. As a School Psychologist were grtting hit hard by requests to evaluate students for disabilities that are really the result of children with no coping skills except mom's phone.


EFisImportant t1_j01qt7p wrote

What do you do in that instance? Are we gonna see OHI or ED bc students can’t cope without devices?


BarfKitty t1_j029qi3 wrote

Were not going to see it. We are seeing it. The really difficult cases are tearing up their classrooms and some are being moved to non public schools where they get bribes like "do 3 min of a worksheet, get 30 min of computer time".

Teachers are doing a good job to try to keep up with tech (at least in my district). Kindergarten has lots of YouTube video time where they all get up, dance, and sing to the video. Class dojo is a digital gameified system for getting points for class participation. Math classes use calculators a lot in older grades since you do in fact have a calculator in your pocket.

But the fact is there an increasing number of kids were looking at for emotional disturbance where the problem is parent checked out and immediately gave them a phone. I see it jn my evals on the incoming 3 year old. Parent brings them in and the kid is on the phone. Phone removed-- kid can't focus on the roomful of toys we have set up to play together.


EFisImportant t1_j02lh6v wrote

That’s so horrible. At that point, not a lot sped teachers can do right? Depending on size of school district, could regular social work therapy services be helpful in that situation?


cerebud t1_izzon5g wrote

I have a 5 year old and never handed them a screen because of bad behavior. Usually it’s the opposite


Zeus_Hera t1_j01s7ye wrote

I was in the library and saw a young family. They had to wait for something. Their daughter was bored and needed attention, so the father gave her a smartphone to look at. Then the father gets bored and tries to interact with his child, who now doesn't want to bond with him because she's too happy playing with the smartphone. And that man just stands there looking like an idiot. Put some effort into your child next time you lazy parent.


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Ash17_ t1_izz4ssl wrote

I mean isn’t this obvious? If you needed a report to tell you this, you have bigger problems in life.


DopeDetective t1_izz9syo wrote

I would assume the same goes for food


nemesisx_x t1_j00jt3b wrote

Regulate children by electronic distractions….leads to adults choosing to regulate themselves by chemicals?


SVAuspicious t1_j01swe6 wrote

I think that digital devices are a symptom, or perhaps a Band-Aid. The problem is the loss of discipline as part of parenting.


Mikejg23 t1_j02mdzv wrote

I know evidence is always good, but this is how behavior works.

This is why excessively demanding people or "Karen" shouldn't have people jumping through hoops to comply with demands. It sets a precedence. I see the same thing happen all the time in hospitals.


JamesRobertWalton t1_j02x5tj wrote

Who tf is using a “reward” (use of a mobile device) as a calming measure!? They never really define what type of emotion they’re calming, but they talk quite a bit about emotional coping skills, so I assume this isn’t just a hyper child needing stimulation or something more innocent like that. If a child is misbehaving, a parent should never use a reward to settle them down. They need to prepare the child for real life, where misbehaving doesn’t get rewarded.


cryptosupercar t1_j02x9js wrote

Its almost like we're molding kids to grow-up and live in the Metaverse.


dun-ado t1_izzhb8l wrote

More than half psychology studies aren't reproducible.


Alarmed-Accident-716 t1_izy5byq wrote

I still think it should be illegal for a kid to use anything more advanced than a gameboy till at least 10. As someone who recently cut social media of out of their lives it’s crazy what less time on the screen will do for your attention span.


dun-ado t1_izy5v9v wrote

What this paper ignores is that when a device isn't available, some parents resort to forms of physical and/or mental abuse to "calm" their children.


IPutThisUsernameHere t1_izy6jik wrote

That's not the argument in favor of using screens to pacify that you think it is. It just means that some people are bad parents and need to adopt better strategies.

That being said, discipline is not abuse.


dun-ado t1_izy6xin wrote

> discipline is not abuse

That's absurd. Obviously, any extreme form of discipline can easily be abuse.


IPutThisUsernameHere t1_izy8rxm wrote

The key word there is extreme. And that word is purely subjective. What you consider extreme another person might consider par for the course.

In short, it's not really your place to dictate what constitutes extreme abuse unless A) the child's life is in danger, B) the child's parent is non copus mentas or C) the child's health is actively being impacted.

Discipline is not supposed to be pleasant. It's supposed to be scary and painful - that's why it works.


dun-ado t1_izy98m7 wrote

Do you use fear and pain or threats thereof to discipline your child or a child under your care?


IPutThisUsernameHere t1_izyb4vt wrote

Well, I'm gay and single so no. But I do know how I was disciplined growing up, and there was a little pain and there was a little fear. Mostly fear of disappointing my parents, sometimes fear of things outside my control (like the boogey man or stuff like that). When I got too rowdy, I got smacked - which wasn't often because I was a very well behaved child.

And I was well behaved because I got smacked when I got too rowdy. Learned my lesson.

I wasn't hit for no reason, nor was I hit frequently. But I understood there would be consequences for my actions - sharp, direct consequences.


dun-ado t1_izycl2h wrote

Why do you believe that since you were smacked as a child that it's all right to smack a child in general?

Violence and/or the fear of violence rarely have good outcomes.


IPutThisUsernameHere t1_izydc2u wrote

On a large scale and across borders, you are correct. On a personal scale, and between a parent and child, you are 100% wrong. The excessive use of violence or force is damaging, yes. But a small quantity, used sparingly, will encourage positive behavior in small children.

You seem to have bought in to the notion that hitting your kids for any reason is an evil practice, and speaking from personal experience, that is absolutely not the case. For one thing, children under the age of 7/8, can't really be reasoned with. They don't understand why doing something is right or wrong, so you have to tell them and show them.

Once they reach about that age, it's easier to enact discipline without needing to use pain, because the child is better equipped to understand why certain behaviors are right or wrong.


dun-ado t1_izydkle wrote

> But a small quantity, used sparingly, will encourage positive behavior in small children.

Do you have any evidence or references to support such a claim?


IPutThisUsernameHere t1_izye2ox wrote

It's all anecdotal, so you won't count it as actual evidence. I know my own parents, friends who are parents, and friends' parents who all used the method I described above to good to excellent success. The children grew up to be healthy, emotionally balanced and capable adults.

It's abundantly clear you have your opinion on the matter. I'm not arguing my point any further than this.


[deleted] t1_j007fd2 wrote

You grew up to be fine with hitting kids. How is that emotionally balanced.


IPutThisUsernameHere t1_j008jqi wrote

Actually, I don't have kids. And if I had them I would discipline them but not abuse them. You seem to have the concepts confused.

A light smack on the bottom for bad behavior is not the same as beating a child for a minor infraction. You would do well to understand that.


[deleted] t1_j009041 wrote


IPutThisUsernameHere t1_j00beor wrote

No, I have personal and anecdotal evidence that counters the science.

You can say the science says I'm wrong. I know from personal experience that I'm not.

Also, I'm not talking about actual abuse. I'm talking about discipline. You seem to be just as guilty of myopia on this matter as you're accusing me of.


[deleted] t1_j00c6h1 wrote

How does your single opinion counter multiple accounts of scientific research? If you read the research I provided above you will see the research actually talks about discipline and abuse.


IPutThisUsernameHere t1_j00d2i0 wrote

Not just my opinion. The opinions of dozens of other parents, including mine, friends of mine and parents of friends of mine.

And the research never has the whole picture, so I'll stick with people I know rather than strangers I don't, thanks.