Parents struggle to limit screen time - study
Mia, 11, wants to be a vet, but her love of an online game called "Animal Jam" will not get her there. She'll need a good education.
Her parents, Anna and Martin de Jager, have their children's education high on their priority list. They are among 800 New Zealand parents surveyed as part of this year's ASG Parent Report Card.
The study, from ASG and Monash University, focused on parents and their perception of state education. It showed 54 per cent of parents were concerned their children were not being taught enough about stress management, social skills and wellbeing. Fifty-five per cent of parents felt their children spent too much time in front of a screen.
The de Jagers were among the 48 per cent of parents who struggled to limit their child's use of digital devices.
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"We try to really do outdoorsy stuff on weekends and cycle to school," Anna de Jager said.
During weeknights it was a challenge. While Anna made dinner it was "easier" for her children – Mia, Madison, 10, and a 4-year-old son – to watch something on television or play on the computer.
The family had three computers. They also had a tablet, which the children could use.
During the day Mia and Madison used computers for school work. They preferred it over using a pen.
At home, the girls were not allowed to use the computers or watch television after 8pm.
They could play online games, but only after they completed their homework, which was online and took about 30 minutes each night.
As well as their concerns over digital distractions, Anna and Martin de Jager were among 70 per cent of parents who wanted their children to obtain a university degree.
They sided with 62 per cent of parents who felt their children could be easily upset by negative experiences.
The family moved from Auckland to Christchurch two years ago, moving the children to Middleton Grange School, a special character Christian school.
They felt some state schools experimented too much with different ways of learning, something they did not favour.
"I understand that they want to get knew techniques [for learning]", Martin de Jager said, but he had not seen research to suggest the "old way" of learning was less effective.
KEY FINDINGS OF EDUCATION SURVEY:
– 54 per cent of parents were concerned their children were not taught enough about stress management, social skills and wellbeing.
– 55 per cent felt their children spent too much time in front of a screen.
– 48 per cent struggled to limit their child's use of digital devices.
– 70 per cent wanted their children to obtain a university degree.
– 62 per cent felt their children could be easily upset by negative experiences.
* Source: ASG and Monash University study of 800 Kiwi parents