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Divorced parents warned of damaging affects of multitasking

We've all seen them. At the store, park or out to lunch. Children who sit idly by as their mothers or fathers are tethered to a mobile phone. While technology, especially the smart phone, has improved certain aspects of American's lives, many researchers are concerned about the prolific use of technology and the impact such use has on children, especially children of divorce.

According to a recent study by Nokia, on average smart phone users check their phones once every six and a half minutes or 150 times per day. While many busy mothers and fathers may argue that such technology allows them to physically spend more time with their child and away from the office, experts question the quality of time spent with a multitasking and often distracted parent.

Most New York residents would likely agree that time is a valuable asset and there is never enough of it. For a child of divorce, who only sees a parent certain days of the week or month, time becomes especially critical. For these children, it's important that the time spent with a parent be quality time and that one-on-one interaction is void of interruptions and distractions.

Children require quality one-on-one interaction and need to know that a parent is listening, watching and interested in them and what they are doing and saying. A parent who is physically present, yet distracted by a mobile device may only seek to reinforce a child's existing insecurities.

Research indicates that children whose parents fail to provide the quality one-on-one attention and interaction they crave, may be more prone to psychological disorders as well as general behavioral problems. For divorced parents, who often share custody of a child, it's even more important that interactions with a child are direct and uninterrupted.

We all lead busy lives and while it may seem like sending just one more email isnt' a big deal, it can be for a child. Divorced parents, therefore, would be wise to put away their phones and other mobile devices and ensure the time spent with a child is truly devoted to that child and building a healthy and strong relationship.

Source: Wired, "How Multitasking on Mobile Affects Children of Divorce," Arabella Watters, Aug. 31, 2013

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