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Parents Are Distracted by Smartphones, Too

Think it's only your teen who's glued to his or her smartphone while texting, tweeting and Instagramming the day away? Think again. Parents are also guilty of spending lots of time on their mobile devices.

New research identifies cell phone use as a significant source of distraction for caregivers who are actively supervising young children, as reported by Christian Science Monitor. The findings are part of a larger series of smartphone studies conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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While a caregiver doesn't necessarily mean a parent—it cold be a nanny or babysitter—the term does include mom and dad, so they're within the guilty party that the research explores.

In one study authored by physician Ruth Milanaik and reported on by the Christian Science Monitor, researchers observed 50 pairs of caregivers and children at seven New York playgrounds. Over the course of 371 two-minute episodes, researchers found that guardians were distracted 74 percent of the time. Electronic devices were responsible for 30 percent of those distractions.

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But what was the biggest distraction? Gabbing with other caretakers accounted for 33 percent of distractions by the adults, barely edging out distraction via smartphone. Still, the results were enough for researchers to suggest that guardians pay more attention to their kids and less to their cell phones.

"Caregivers in general are doing a fine job supervising their children on the playground," Milanaik said in a press release. "However, increased awareness of limiting electronic distractions and other activities that may interfere with supervision should be considered."

Do you get distracted by your smartphone? How often and why? Tell us in the comments.

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