New US research has found that parents who spend a lot of time on their phones or watching television during family activities such as meals, playtime, and bedtime could be contributing to their children's bad behavior.
Carried out by researchers at Illinois State University and the University of Michigan Medical School, the study set out to look at how a parent's use of technology and "technoference" can influence their child's behavior.
The researchers define technoference as "everyday intrusions and interruptions due to technology devices," and believe it can lead to worse behavior in children such as showing more frustration, hyperactivity, whining, sulking, or tantrums.
To investigate, the team looked at 183 couples with a child age 5 years or younger who participated in the new study.
Parents were asked to indicate how often per day different devices interrupted their conversations or activities with their children, as well as report on their child's screen media use.
They were also asked to rate their child's internalizing behavior, such as how often they sulked or how easily their feelings were hurt, and their externalizing behavior, such as how angry or easily frustrated they were.
Finally, parents were asked to report on their own levels of stress and depression and how much support they received from their partners.