Phone-obsessed parents may be harming family life

Mon 24 Apr 2017
By Eno Adeogun

Research suggests that parents who continually check their mobile phones may be disrupting family life.

In a poll of 2,000 11 to 18-year-olds in the UK, more than a third said they had asked their parents to stop checking their devices, with almost half of them saying it makes no difference when they do.

However, fewer than 10% of the 3,000 parents that took part in the survey thought their time spent on devices was concerning their children.

The research was carried out by Digital Awareness UK and the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC). In a press release published yesterday, the two organisations said the aims of the survey were to "better understand attitudes and behaviours relating to mobile device use and further improve support given to young people in and out of school."
Dr Bex Lewis, who is a christian and author of, "Raising children in a digital age," welcomed the survey's results and told Premier that parents need to look at their behaviour to better understand how it impacts their family.

"Let your device be a tool that you use with your children - not one you pick up just because it's in front of you.

"Try meal time device-free for a week and see if it works. If it does, stick to it. If it doesn't, try something else," Lewis explained.

There were some discrepancies between some of the responses from children and adults.

Although 14% said their parents were online at meal times, 95% of parents, polled separately, denied it.

Meal times were not the only time children seemed to feel was being disrupted by devices.

Among the pupils, 22% of felt that the use of mobile devices stopped their families from enjoying each other's company.
Children could also be held partially responsible for disrupting family-time as the poll revealed 72% of students spent between three and ten hours on-line on an average day during weekends and holidays.

The research comes ahead of the HMC's spring conference, which will explore new ways of working between schools and families in both the state and independent sectors.

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