Moms’ Phone Use during Mealtime is Bad, Study Says

February 27, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. distraction /dɪˈstræk ʃən/ (n.) – something that prevents a person to pay full attention
Example: Cell phone use can be a distraction during mealtime.

2. mealtime /ˈmilˌtaɪm/ (n.) – refers to the time for eating a meal
Example: We have our family conversations during mealtime.

3. bonding /ˈbɒn dɪŋ/ (n.) – the act of developing a relationship
Example: They went on a vacation for their family bonding activity.

4. heighten /ˈhaɪt n/ (v.) – to increase the degree of something
Example: The study heightened our awareness on technology’s harmful effects to people.

5. caregiver /ˈkɛərˌgɪv ər/ (n.) – a person who looks after or takes care of someone
Example: The caregiver took the kids to school.


Read the text below.
Parents might want to rethink about using their phones when dining with their kids.

New studies suggest that parents who use smartphones during mealtime tend to ignore their kids at the dining table. The researchers said that the distraction caused by the device can harm parent-child relationship in a family. With mealtime conversations being an important part of family bonding, the researchers observed how parents behave with a phone at hand.

In a study published in the Academic Pediatrics, researchers filmed the interaction of 225 mothers and their six-year-old children while having a meal. Unfamiliar food was provided for each mother-and-child pair. The researchers said the strangeness of the food worried the children, which heightened their need for interaction with their mothers.

The results showed that the mothers who used their phones at the dining table had 26 percent fewer verbal interactions. They also had 48 percent fewer nonverbal interactions—which include eye contact, hand gestures, smiles, and head nods.

In an earlier study led by the same author, the researchers observed 55 caregivers and parents with one or more children eating in a fast-food restaurant. The children included infants and those aging up to 10 years old. Findings revealed that 40 of the 55 adults used their mobile devices at least once during meal. Out of those 40 adults, 16 used their devices throughout the meal.

The researchers concluded that the parents’ opportunities to connect with their children are lessened with the use of phones during mealtime. This is because these devices prevent parents from giving the attention needed by their children.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that mealtime conversation is important? Why or why not?
·         What can happen if children are often ignored?

Discussion B

·         Would you allow your children to use a device during mealtime? Why or why not?
·         How does technology help bring families closer together?

February 27, 2015