Mothers, Here is How You’re Screwing Up Your Baby Today: Cellphones!

MOTHERS PUT DOWN YOUR CELLPHONES: 

Mothers, put down your smartphones when caring for your babies! That’s the message from University of California, Irvine researchers, who have found that fragmented and chaotic maternal care can disrupt proper brain development, which can lead to emotional disorders later in life.

HOLY SHIT. That sounds terrifying! I will never text in Kick’s presence again lest I warp her brain for life! Hey, maybe Mr. A can handle all my calls and work e-mails and everything else that happens, you know, on a 21st century basis in the world. This lead says nothing about fathers using their phones while caring for their babies! Fathers must be safe.

I’m so glad they warned us, though, ladies, because it doesn’t sound like we can be too careful OH WAIT:

While the study was conducted with rodents, its findings imply that when mothers are nurturing their infants, numerous everyday interruptions – even those as seemingly harmless as phone calls and text messages – can have a long-lasting impact.

I don’t know where to start here. This study was conducted with rats. This leads to a conclusion that human mothers should put down their smartphones. Because the rats had smartphones? The female rats, only? And they made and received phone calls and texts? Which were seemingly harmless but damaged the baby rats’ brainmeats? We are two paragraphs in. I’m meant to be terrified for my baby’s brain development, but I can’t be scared when I’m this confused.

Help me out, article!

The UCI researchers discovered that erratic maternal care of infants can increase the likelihood of risky behaviors, drug seeking and depression in adolescence and adult life. Because cellphones have become so ubiquitous and users have become so accustomed to frequently checking and utilizing them, the findings of this study are highly relevant to today’s mothers and babies … and tomorrow’s adolescents and adults.

Erratic maternal care. Like looking at your phone. Will turn your kid into a drug dealer.

Kay.

WHAT THE TITS:

The UCI team – which included Hal Stern, the Ted & Janice Smith Family Foundation Dean of Information & Computer Sciences – studied the emotional outcomes of adolescent rats reared in either calm or chaotic environments and used mathematical approaches to analyze the mothers’ nurturing behaviors.

What was a chaotic environment, that these baby rats were in? Did Mother Rat just chain-smoke and watch soap operas? Did Daddy Rat come home drunk after banging his secretary? Were the meals late and were they tiny Rat Happy Meals? I don’t meant to get all After School Rat Special up in this business but this article is the opposite of specific and I saw it tweeted by a lot of mommy-advice accounts that are supposed to be smarter than this. I need to know what these rats were up to.

I mean, fuck’s sake, of COURSE you should pay more attention to your kid than to your phone, and we all have horror stories about This One Mom I Saw in the Grocery Store Whose Kid Was Throwing a Fit and She Was Just Talking on Her Phone. Not that we know that bitch’s life. But here’s the thing: Scold-y headlines aimed at “mothers” who are no more interrupting their childcare to send a text than they once were by picking up the mail do not do jack OR shit to actually help create a stable environment for a kid to grow up in.

While we are all freaking out about Overparenting and Helicoptering and Are Your Rich White Children Watching Too Much TV, politicians have poisoned the fresh water in a state surrounded by it. One in ten young children lives in extreme poverty, like they live on less than 10K a year. Refugees and immigrants are hearing screaming about walls and Christianity exams, and Chipotle is giving everybody the shits. Childcare costs more than college, and also college costs more than college. The entire country needs a goddamn nap. Can we please get it together over here?

You know what would help the shit out of creating a stable, non-“chaotic” environment? MONEY. Shitloads of it, for buying groceries and paying taxes and sealing up cracks in the walls and keeping the lights on. That would help both mothers AND fathers spend less time frantically trying to work and parent around the clock using GASP their smartphones and laptops and any other means at their disposal in the year 20FREAKING16, and maybe then those baby rats could have dinner without some kind of drama for once in their lives.

A.

3 thoughts on “Mothers, Here is How You’re Screwing Up Your Baby Today: Cellphones!

  1. Feline Mama says:

    WOW, A, have a Snickers! Just kidding. Excellent article & rebuttal. Now if these science-type persons would study why people have to walk around the grocery store with an instrument in hand and banging in to me with their carts or totally oblivious that there are other people in the store. THANK YOU!!!!

  2. gratuitous says:

    A chaotic environment, huh? Try being the fifth of six kids, and then tell me about your chaotic environment. It’s not a determining factor, I’m here to tell you. There were other families with their allotted 2.3 children (or whatever the average number of kids was back in the day), and they had as many problems as the bigger families.

    As is usually the case for something as complicated as child-rearing, there isn’t one determining factor for whether your kid’s more likely to go to Penn State or the state pen.

  3. hobbular says:

    I’m sure it will surprise you zero that the actual study had absolutely jack shit to do with smartphones and everything to do with what researchers refer to growing up in an “impoverished environment” – basically, they let the rats sleep on a paper towel and only gave them a little bit of floor covering material, versus normal rats that had plenty of shit to sleep on. And shocker, this disturbed the mother rats (there were no male parents involved in the study from what I can tell from the article) enough that they were more concerned with their own SURVIVAL than that of their offspring.

    And literally, at the end of the study: “the experimental group was transferred to routine cages, where maternal behavior normalized within hours.”

    This doesn’t. In any way. Say that you should put the cell phone down. Like seriously at all.

    This says that people living in poverty are necessarily not as concerned with their kids’ wellbeing and MAYBE WE SHOULD HELP PEOPLE NOT LIVE IN POVERTY IF WE WANT THEIR KIDS TO BECOME HEALTHY FUNCTIONAL ADULTS HUH

    Seriously that’s one of the worst interpretations of a journal article that I’ve ever seen.

    Actual article: http://www.nature.com/tp/journal/v6/n1/full/tp2015200a.html

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