Spending time in taking calls or texting friends while watching a game your kid is playing makes you feel guilty reports a new study.
Cell phone use at playgrounds is a significant source of parental guilt, as well as a powerful distraction when children try to get caregivers' attention, the researchers noted.
"Concerns on this topic are very prevalent, and a lot of people report feeling guilty about their own behaviors," said lead author Alexis Hiniker, doctoral student at University of Washington.
Among 466 adult caregivers studied, 44% of parents, nannies and adult babysitters felt they ought to restrict cell phone use while watching children at playgrounds but felt guilty for failing to live up to those ideals.
They also observed that caregivers absorbed in their phones were much less attentive to children's requests as compared to their chatting with friends or caring for other children.
The most common use of cell phones on playgrounds was texting with friends and family, taking pictures and emailing. The study documented more than 40 hours of interactions at US playgrounds and collected data from 466 adult caregivers.
The researchers found that boredom often trumped guilt or fear of being judged and was the single biggest driver prompting people to dig cell phones out of their pockets or purses.