Parents in rich countries spend a lot more time with their kids today than they did 50 years ago. But phones are increasingly creeping into those interactions, impacting their depth and quality.
For example, more than a quarter of American adults now report that they are online “almost constantly,” according to a Pew Research Center survey published last week. Parents’ increased smartphone use has experts concerned about the potentially devastating consequences this might have for the development of babies and toddlers.
“The most important thing for little people in the zero-to-three range is interactions with human beings,” says Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “Anything that disrupts the timing, or the meaningfulness, or the emotional quality of that interaction can have consequences on both parents and kids and on their relationship.”