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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) -- Stay at home mom Minde Christensen admits she gets distracted with her smart phone.

"As my kids are wandering around that I'll be checking Facebook and I kind of have that panic moment when realizing they have gone out of your sight for a few minutes."

A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics took a look at the role smart phones play with parents and kids. Researchers observed 55 caregivers with young children at fast food places. Forty of those caregivers used mobile devices during the meal, some seemed completely consumed.

"They seemed to be more engaged in the device with the children they cared for," says Dr. Jenny Radesky.

The children's reaction, some accepted the behavior as normal, others tried to get more attention.

"They tried to start conversations or maybe they acted more silly or acted out," says Dr. Radesky.

The researcher says when parents are on the phone children lose out.

Dr. Radesky says, "Those moments of connection, kids brains are wired to learn from those."

Minde Christensen agrees. She says, "Sometimes I just have to put it away. Put it in my pocket, push them on the swings and just really be engaged."

And some parents make better use of their smart phones by using them to capture special moments with their kids.

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