Observation Field Note Excerpts Illustrating Separate Versus Shared Use of Devices

Separate(1) Child [toddler age girl] wiggles and looks around the room while she chews on the corner of the bread, reaching her hand out and touching female caregiver’s upper arm. Caregiver is typing on the tablet and has not looked up to child. Child then puts her hand into caregiver’s hair and turns her bun (looks painful) while caregiver is looking at tablet; caregiver looks up to child, says something to her, and puts the tablet on the table in front of the child and brings up a Disney app. The child puts the bread down and leans over the table, standing on the seat, and starts tapping on the tablet with face about 8–10 inches away from it, continues to wiggle. She doesn’t seem able to make it work, so she starts to make whining vocalizations ...a minute later caregiver notices the child is having difficulty and leans over with her to help, and sets up a video. While the video runs the child keeps babbling and jargoning in a fussy way. Caregiver is now eating and looking at her smartphone. Child wriggles, standing on seat, not appearing to pay full attention to video. Caregiver brings over her smartphone and puts it down in front of the child, who now has both devices in front of her and is looking at one or the other for brief periods.
Shared(2) The family sat talking and eating. Another man came to the restaurant with his dog and left it tied outside while he went inside to order. While inside, his dog started howling for attention. Many people stopped to watch the dog, and the male caregiver got his cell phone out and gave it to the older boy to take a picture or video of the dog. They joked that the dog would be famous on YouTube. ...The caregiver finished his meal and got his phone out from his pocket. He talked to the boys and appeared to be looking up things on his phone that they were talking about. After doing that for a few minutes he put his phone away. The family spent the rest of their meal talking and eating and making jokes.