In a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, researchers observed diners in Boston-area fast food restaurants, looking at the new family configuration of adult, child and mobile device.
The researchers were trained in anthropological observation techniques, looking in detail at what went on between children and the adults taking care of them (the researchers had no way of knowing if they were parents), with a focus on the adults’ use of devices like smartphones and tablets.
The object was to observe, and to find out what kinds of questions we should be asking about these new digital devices as they relate to parenting. Not surprisingly, most used some kind of mobile device, either continuously or intermittently or at the end of the meal. Of the 55 groups observed in the study, only 15 had no device in play.
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