Parents see impact of screen time on babies, toddlers

ABC News' Diane Sawyer shares some of the findings of her six-month investigation into the effects of screen time on adults and children.
6:23 | 05/02/19

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Transcript for Parents see impact of screen time on babies, toddlers
We are back with Diane sawyer. She has a new special called screentime, Diane Schauer reporting about many are talking about, how much of our time do we spend on our screens and, Diane, reunited and it feels so good. Certainly does. You've seen those stats. 49 days on average. 49 days of our life each year spent on mobile phones on average so we're looking at a month and a half of our life and we're hearing over and over again it's what started us on this about the struggle in American family, parents to kids, relationship, everybody wondering what's happening with the science and our brains, is it something different? Most of all people want balance. Can we have the ease of our technology and have the fullness of our lives as well. We're going to show you something based on another stat which is on average, on average we pick up the phone 80 times a day, on average. On average and so some researchers wanted it know what that would mean in the lives of kids. Are they okay with that or is this something that they're paying attention to and maybe we don't notice when we're just home alone without the cameras. A mom comes into a laboratory. She's asked to scroll and type and focus on her screen just for two minutes. The videotape showing something adults don't see when we're home This is not about parent guilting because parents feel so torn and sometimes we have to get things done. Reporter: This is Jensen. I think he knows she's on the device. Reporter: It takes 15 seconds for him to get mom Melissa to look up. We have some other things to do, mommy. We have some other things to do, mommy. He just walks out. This mom is helping researchers replicate a study doing something difficult for her, asked to keep looking down and remember just for two minutes. Come on, mommy. Reporter: He repeats the plea seven times. We have another thing to do, mommy. Mommy. You are not listening to me, mommy. Listen to me, mommy. Reporter: And here is another fact about grown-ups and phones. On average we unlock our phones 80 times Aday. Cell phones I think are qualitatively different than other forms of distract because they're with us all the time. They're ubiquitous, they have been engineered to grab our Reporter: In the old day they were chained to the wall but today a child sees our head go down, our eyes riveted on something else. What you have is that little sneak down, you've all noticed it at dinner conversations and basically it means I'm not talking to you anymore. I'm pretending to talk to you. Reporter: And no one can be sure how long before your eyes look up again. This is little hunter who seemed to have learned when she has to compete with the phone. She might as well just give up. She's sitting down and she's waiting. She knows her mother is not available right now. Reporter: When it was over -- Come here. Give me a hug. Reporter: Jensen's mom said it was a revelation. I was actually really surprised at his reaction. Reporter: So did this mom. I think you don't realize when you're at home in our own environment, I think I'll pay attention more now. Cannot pick my phone up. Reporter: The American academy of pediatrics recommends that kids under 18 months should avoid screens entirely with the occasional exception of a few minutes of facetime with family. I love you. I really don't want to be guilt-tripping parents with a study or the implications but want it to be a wake-up call that face-to-face time we have with our children is not just the icing on the cake. It is the cake. It is the place that children learn the most about the world and about themselves. There he is. I love you. I love you. Precious baby. Yes, and, again, every part of ow lives, it starts in a way by just looking at possibilities. Looking at what we are and that's what we're setting out to do and why we go. We interview brain scientists and talk to everybody we can in the country to try to get solutions and help and we also address this issue, do you know what you've agreed to? Do you read the privacy policies when you agree to something online? Well, I just got if you can roll the tape here, I got some privacy policies that are only for the apps on my phone and started looking through them with experts to try to figure out some of the things I had agreed to and I was very surprised at some of the things that I have agreed to because we don't tend to read them. We're going to cover all of this and we're going to cover how we solve this together. We can. What is the practice? There are so many wonderful people in our piece that will show you how they did it and in a way it begins by knowing what you're doing and thinking about why you're doing it. It's about more life. It's about getting more of the life you want and you know you have a screen time. Would you like to check your screen time with me? We could do this together. On live TV? Mine is going to be quite low this morning because I haven't done very much except -- Go into your settings. Go in your settings to do it, yes, and I have had -- oh, I'm going to win. I've only had 17 minutes of screen time. Really. I bet -- you know you can look and see how many times you picked it up as well. I like how -- I've got 13 minutes. You do? 13 minutes. You've always been more connected than me. In every way. Only four times but it begins by noticing what you're doing and thinking why am I doing it? Why am I just reaching it? I appreciate what the woman said. Is this not a guilt trip? No, it's just an awareness. Some believe it's very funny and love that every member of our crew stay afterwards to talk about kid, their kids. You can see it all tomorrow night here on ABC. We'll be right back.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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