Dr. Jenny Radesky, a pediatrician at the Boston Medical Center, ran a study in which the behavior of parents with young children in restaurants was observed anonymously. 40 of 55 parents paid more attention to the smartphone than their kids. And the kids who received less attention were more prone to acting out.
In a separate study, Catherine Steiner-Adair, a consulting psychologist at Harvard, interviewed more than 1000 kids while researching for her book. "One of the many things that absolutely knocked my socks off," she says, "was the consistency with which children — whether they were 4 or 8 or 18 or 24 — talked about feeling exhausted and frustrated and sad or mad trying to get their parents' attention, competing with computer screens or iPhone screens or any kind of technology, much like in therapy you hear kids talk about sibling rivalry."