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Study Reveals Parents Engage in Riskiest Type of Screen Time

About half of parents surveyed admit to using a mobile device behind the wheel.


When it comes to the adverse effects of screen time, most studies focus on teenagers and small children. A new one published in the journal Pediatrics, however, brings a bigger issue to light: Almost half of the parents surveyed admitted to using a mobile device while driving ⏤ even if kids were in the car.

The study surveyed 700 parents with children between the ages of 4- and 10-years-old and even managed to correlate discretion with certain kinds of negligence. For example, parents who reported being distracted by a phone are more prone to not buckling their child into the car safely.

The study found that around half of parents will talk on the phone while driving, 33 percent read texts while behind the wheel, and around 14 percent engage with social media. When not limited to parents, close to 700,000 people use their phones while driving every day. Meanwhile, around 40 percent of teens admit to texting and driving and the number of people who die in car accidents due to distraction is still unsettlingly high. According to the CDC, nine people die in car accidents involving a distracted driver every day.

In fact, texting and driving is six times as likely to cause a wreck as drunk driving. The reason is simple: Using a device while driving increases the time spent with your eyes off the road by 400 percent. Because of those statistics, some states are finally catching up and implementing hands-free cell phone laws and issuing huge fines to drivers who are caught texting and driving.