Cellphones are a big part of our lives. It makes work and managing the home a whole lot easier.
But, according to a recent study published in Translational Psychiatry, cellphone usage poses certain hazards to our baby’s development.
Though it was not done on humans but on mice, the researchers hope to shed light on this real possibility in the hope that parents will not take this for granted.
“What we are proposing is that there is a sensitive period in which maternal care needs to provide consistent patterns and sequences of behaviour so the baby’s brain can perceive them to develop normally emotionally,” Dr. Tallie Baram, one of the study’s authors told Time.
Emotionally stunted despite the necessities
The researchers raised two sets of mice in almost the same setting. The only difference was that one set was placed in an environment which did not contain the necessary tools the mother rat needed to build a proper nest for her mice.
Researchers observed that the mice in this environment received less attention because their mother spent more time improvising in order to find enough materials to build a nest with.
The development of the two sets of mice and mother rats were then compared. They realised that even with the basic necessities for survival, the mice still weren’t thriving in terms of emotional growth and development.
Image source: iStock
Cellphone-distracted parenting: Lasting effects of paying attention
The researchers also found that the simple act of being paid attention to when they were just mice had lasting effects on them as they grew.
Aside from having a healthier appetite, they were found to be more sociable.
Even if research done on mice have received mixed reviews due to misleading results, many believe that the published study has uncovered something worth pursuing.
Focused nurturing goes a long way.
Effect of mother’s neglect on their children’s brains. | Image source: Medical Daily
A previous study also found that the brains of constantly neglected children are significantly underdeveloped. This lack of emotional connection can physically affect the way your baby’s brain develops.
Neglected children were also found to be more friendly towards strangers, which can be considered dangerous behaviour.
The researchers plan to cement the credibility of the project by eventually taking on human subjects. They plan to do so by analysing human brain images to find out if the nature and consistency of their mother’s behaviour affect the children’s ability to thrive emotionally and socially.
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