Could your child’s phone be making them UNSOCIABLE? Two thirds of parents worry their children can’t interact with people
- Researchers polled a total of 2,002 parents and their children
- A third of children said they check for messages several times an hour
- While almost two thirds admitted to using their devices in bed
- A third of parents and their children use devices at the dinner table
- More than half of parents said they worry about their child’s tech habits
- However, 30% blamed their usage on the bad examples set by their parents
More than half of parents worry their children’s use of technology is affecting the way they interact with friends and family.
A third of children aged seven to 17 check their phone for messages several times an hour, while almost two thirds use their devices in bed.
The study by the Halifax Insurance Digital Home Index also found children own an average of £924 ($1,535) worth of electronic devices.
More than half of parents worry about their children’s use of technology. A third of children, stock image pictured, check their phone for messages several times an hour, while almost two thirds use their devices in bed. The study also found children own an average of £924 ($1,535) worth of electronic devices
Educational psychologist Dr Kairen Cullen said: ‘Modern technology is part of contemporary life and naturally this is reflected in the way families operate. However, it is becoming clear that a number of children and young people use technology excessively.’
Other findings include the fact a third of seven to eight-year-olds (31 per cent), nearly two-thirds of nine to 11-year-olds (63 per cent) and 88 per cent of 12 to 14-year-olds own a mobile phone.
A third of parents and their children use devices at the dinner table and more than a third of children (37 per cent) use technology to communicate with family members while under the same roof.
Opinium Research surveyed 1,001 UK parents of children aged seven to 17, and 1,001 UK children aged seven to 17 from the same family between 28 January 28 and 4 February this year.
The study also found that a third of parents and their children use devices at the dinner table, stock image pictured, and more than a third of children (37%) use technology to communicate with family members while under the same roof. However, 30% blamed their usage on the bad examples set by their parents
Despite almost three quarters of the parents letting children keep devices in their room, 35 per cent admitted they did not know how often their children used them, while more than half are concerned they cannot control this usage.
Surprisingly, 30 per cent of them children claimed their parents’ use of technology sets a bad example.
‘Parents now have to adapt to a different climate of communication and work hard to ensure open and meaningful conversations with their children, who have grown up with instant messaging and social media,’ continued Dr Cullen.
‘Virtual communication is never going to substitute face-to-face family contact though, and parents are well placed to encourage sensible and balanced use of online facilities in a way that includes time fully offline and supports family dynamics.’
HOW TO CONTROL A CHILD’S TECHNOLOGY ADDICTION
If a parent is concerned their child is addicted, or is on the road to addiction, Consultant Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr Richard Graham recommends a ’72 hour digital detox.’
How parents handle this depends on the child and how they are reacting and Clinical Psychologist Dr Jay Watts explained: ‘You know your child so if something feels really wrong, trust your instincts and seek help.’
‘As a rule, pleas for technology should be ignored, yet parents can also try to distract the child with other activities if it get too much.’
‘The challenge starts when we reintroduce technology back into their lives in a controlled manner, they need a balance of activities to help children including an increase of physical activity,’ continued Dr Graham.
‘It is important to restrict the time children spend using technology to help prevent forming an unhealthy dependence,’ said Dr Graham.
‘Techniques include ensuring prolonged periods where children are focused on the ‘real world’ and play time with other children.’
Dr Watts told the MailOnline this method may not be appropriate for teenagers, however, due to social pressures.
‘If a parent is really worried their child is getting addicted, and the time spent on smartphones is a lot more than their peers, parents should try to set down some ‘compromise agreements’, meaning families still spend time together.
‘Perhaps there are no smartphones at meals, and the family have half a day together cyber-free over the weekend’, said Dr Watts.
She continued ‘some adolescent groaning about this is par for the course’ but if a child is really locked into the screen, parents should talk to their GP, teacher or call Parentline on 0808 800 2222.