New York, Dec 10:
Mothers who use mobile devices while eating with their young children are less likely to have verbal, non verbal and encouraging interactions with them, the findings showed.
According to the researchers, non verbal interactions are a primary mode through which emotional content is communicated between parents and children.
“We theorise that mobile device use was associated with a decreased number of maternal verbal and non verbal interactions through decreased awareness of the child’s social cues,” explained corresponding author Jenny Radesky at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).
Parent-child interactions during meal time in particular is also believed to have protective effect on child health outcomes such as obesity, asthma and adolescent risk behaviours.
Maternal use of mobile devices was associated with 20 percent fewer verbal and 39 percent fewer non verbal interactions.
Mothers with the greatest mobile device use made significantly fewer encouragements toward their children.
During presentation of unfamiliar foods, which is usually stressful for young children, mothers with mobile device use showed 26 percent fewer verbal interactions and 48 percent fewer nonverbal interactions.
The findings appeared online in the journal ‘Academic Pediatrics’. (IANS)