We live in a world where every achievement or milestone is uploaded to a series of social media platforms within five minutes of it taking place. And while it's necessary - to a certain extent - to be 'plugged in', it seems our short attention spans are having a negative effect on our children.

 

New research from the US has claimed that children of parents who don't engage properly during playtime could actually wind up with shorter attention spans.

 

The study was carried out by a team of psychologists at Indiana University, with results positively establishing a link between attention span and social interaction.

 

As part of the study, a group of parents and their babies were fitted with cameras, and sent into an area set up like a playroom. The researchers then observed playtime, monitoring the parents' engagement with their child through the cameras.

 

The results were incredible interesting, with this study proving - officially, for the first time - that there is a direct link between the length of time a parent or caregiver spends looking at an object, and how long their child will spend focusing on it.

 

 

The parent's focus on the object will influence their child's level of focus. So, if the parent is always looking away - at their phone or tablet, for instance - their child will develop the same habit.

 

The statistics were truly eye-opening in their support of the findings. The researchers found that when infants and parents stayed focused on the same object for over 3.6 seconds, the infant actually ended up staying focused for 2.3 seconds longer on average - which is very significant, overall.

 

Meanwhile, the children of the parents who didn't engage or focus during the experiment were found to have the shortest spans of attention.

 

Commenting on the findings, lead author Chen you explained: "The ability of children to sustain attention is known as a strong indicator for later success in areas such as language acquisition, problem-solving and other key cognitive development milestones.

 

"Caregivers who appear distracted, or whose eyes wander a lot while their children play appear to negatively impact infants' burgeoning attention spans during a key stage of development."

 

So, the next time you're spending quality time with your little one, bear in mind that that latest Facebook update or Instagram post can most likely wait!

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