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7 Dec 8:00am

‘I was on Instagram. The baby fell down the stairs’: is your phone use harming your child?

The Guardian
As new research looks at the impact of distracted parenting on child development, we talk to families about the battle with ‘technoference’ Earlier this year, Sara Davidson had what she calls “a massive wakeup call” about the damage our relationship with our phones can do to our children. Davidson (not her real name), a 34-year-old mother of two from London, was mindlessly scrolling through her mobile, “sucked into the Insta-vacuum”, when her eight-month-old baby crawled across the bedroom floor and on to the landing. “I heard a thud, then a cry,” she says. “My brain, transfixed by my phone, took a couple of seconds to realise that she had tumbled down the stairs. I hadn’t even noticed she was out of sight. My stomach turned.” Davidson admits that she was very lucky: apart from being a little shocked, her daughter was fine. Her fall had been broken three steps down. “I was riddled with guilt,” Davidson says. “I could have damaged my child, and for what? For looking at some meaningless nonsense on social media? I can’t bring myself to tell my husband. But it has been enough to make me re-evaluate my relationship with my devices. The irony is, I’ve always been pretty militant about their screen time – they are both under three and don’t watch TV or have iPads.”
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