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Survey finds parents and kids have similar tech habits

A new study by Kaspersky has shown a direct correlation between the amount of time parents and their children spend on devices. With 77% of adults and 76% of kids in the U.S. spending at least three hours on gadgets every day, the data shows that kids follow very similar patterns to their parents.

Children are often observing and copying what their parents do, a behavior that appears to apply to digital habits. The survey results may serve as a reminder to parents to be conscious of their tech usage and attempt to lead by example when it comes to rules around screen time.

Forty-three percent of American adults said that both they and their children use their devices for 3-5 hours each day - the most commonly reported usage time. The majority of parents said they are convinced that both they (56%) and children (52%) spend an acceptable amount of time online.

The results also show that kids tend to adapt the way they use devices based on their parents' usage. For example, when parents, globally, spent less than 2 hours a day on devices, 80% of their children did too. Meanwhile, if adults used their gadgets more than 2 hours per day, kids were just as likely to do the same, with only 19% those children using gadgets less than 2 hours a day.

The survey also revealed correlations between specific parental behaviors and children's screen time. It found that kids whose parents commonly use gadgets during meals spend an additional 39 minutes per day online, globally. Kids with parents who text while carrying on real conversations added an average of 41 minutes of screen time and kids with parents who share family photographs on social media added a further 31 minutes per day.

"As we see from the data, the more hours parents spend on gadgets, the more hours kids are likely to spend on theirs," said Marina Titova, vice president, consumer product marketing at Kaspersky. "Parents want to ensure better screen time balance for their children and their main challenge is how to achieve this. Today there are tools available that can help parents improve digital wellbeing for their kids and ensure their screen time is secure and balanced. Setting an example themselves is also a great option."

"Children benefit far more from tangible interaction with the real world than from consuming digital information," said therapists Birgitt Hölzel and Stefan Ruzas from the practice Liebling + Schatz. "Children younger than twelve, for example, still have a long way to go before their capacity for abstraction is comparable to that of an adult. They first have to learn to feel, hear, see, smell and taste the world.

"In our practice, too, parents and families' use of digital media is always a prominent topic. Many parents are convinced that it is sufficient to clearly regulate their children's media time and control the type of content they have access to. But instead of worrying about effective punishments, parents should first reduce their own media consumption."

The full report is available via this link.

If you want to help your children and ensure they are using devices in a secure way, you can:

  • Spend time communicating with kids about online safety measures. Try paying attention to your own habits, such as using your smartphone when eating or chatting. See if there is a pattern with your kids doing the same or if they react in a different way when you put away the phone. 
  • Consider downloading parental control apps and discussing this topic with your child to explain how such apps work and why they need them to stay secure online.
  • Ask your child not to agree with any privacy settings on their own and ask for parents' help. Adults should get in the habit of reading any privacy agreements as well.
Published Monday, November 15, 2021 9:49 AM by David Marshall
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