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1 in 10 UK kids spend more than 50 hours a week in front of a screen

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by Startacus Admin

screen time
1 in 10 UK children are spending more than 50 hours per week watching TV, playing video games or interacting with a smartphone according to the findings of a report looking at the relationships between parents and technology conducted by Care.com, an online marketplace for finding and managing family care.

The report, which quizzed more than 800 parents in Britain about the role of technology in their families, asked respondents to explain how the impact of screen time, mobile phone and social media usage affected their day-to-day lives.

Staggeringly, 11% of children were found to spend more than ten hours per day in front of a screen - with almost half of the parents admitting they feel that the use of smart devices is impacting on their quality family time and that they argue with their children on a weekly basis about the amount of time spent using these devices.

Despite this, 47% of parents suggested they use TV, tablets and smartphones as ‘digital child sitters’ - in other words - a good way to entertain children while they were screen time and kids otherwise occupied with other tasks. 

And in Startacus' recent experience of looking at ParentTech startups, there are TV, tablets and smartphone games and devices that are positive tech experiences, too. Think, 
SwapBots the augmented reality gaming company, GoHenry - the pocket money card for kids and BleepBleeps - the tech parenting brand as three recent examples. 

Commenting on the figures, Katrin Lewandowski, family expert at Care.com, said:

"It is important to teach our children how to make decisions about when and how to use technology and to lead by example. While screens may be a tempting solution to keep your children occupied, they cannot replace the benefits of human interaction. Rules or guidelines for the whole family should be set especially when you start noticing that screens harm family routines like meals or activities.”

Parents were also questioned about their children’s use of mobile phones and social media, with the most common age for children to receive their first handset being between 10-12 years old - suggesting the move towards independence (from primary to secondary school) is often the trigger for this.

Two thirds of parents admittied they were worried about their children being on social media - with the threats of bullying and sexual predators being key concerns. Yet despite this, more than a quarter of parents said they would allow their children to use social media while at primary school age. However, 72% suggested they would make them wait until they were 13 years old before being allowed to sign up - in line with the age requirements for most social media channels.

Facebook was found to be the social media channel of choice for parents, with 72% of those surveyed suggesting they use it ‘always’ or ‘often’. “Newer” channels including Tumblr, Snapchat and Pinterest proved less popular, suggesting there is still a clear generational divide when it comes to how parents and their children interact on social channels.

To view the results of the report, visit their full parenting and technology report.


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Published on: 20th February 2019

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