Secondhand Screen Time

What is secondhand screen time?

A parent's continuous partial attention to a child

Secondhand screen time is a term that refers to when a parent only gives partial attention to his child because he is distracted by an electronic device, such as a phone or tablet. The term was coined by Joshua Straub in his February 9, 2016 article "The Powerful Influence Of Secondhand Screen Time On A Child's Brain: What Parents Need To Know."

The term is similar to "Secondhand Smoke" which is when another person suffers smoke-related effects from a person who is actually the one smoking. Secondhand screen time occurs when a parent is constantly distracted by his device and only gives partial attention to his child. This behavior affects the child's cognitive development, particularly his ability to process pleasure. It can wire the child's brain for interruptions, which causes an under-developed pleasure system that can lead to depression and anxiety.


I realized that I need to put my phone in the other room when I play with my baby because I cause a lot of secondhand screen time
A mom guilty of secondhand screen time
A mom guilty of secondhand screen time

Related Slang


Updated August 9, 2017

Secondhand screen time definition by

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