Kids compete with phones for parents' attention

Are parents using their phones too much? Yes, say kids.

Are parents using their phones too much? Yes, say kids.

Parents are paying more attention to their mobile phones than their kids, a new study says.

More than 300 New Zealand children were surveyed about their parents' behaviour on mobile devices, in research conducted by online security company AVG Technologies.

Over half of the kids felt their parents checked their mobile devices too often.

Jake Hilmi, 15, thinks his mum spends too much time playing Candy Crush.

Jake Hilmi, 15, thinks his mum spends too much time playing Candy Crush.

Their biggest grievance, from a list of bad device habits, was that their parents became distracted during conversations. It made them feel unimportant, the research indicated.

Thirty-two per cent of the children said their parents spend equal or less time with them than on their devices.

A few children seem to be able to relate to the findings of the study.

Jake Hilmi, 15, said his mum "spent too much time on Candy Crush". 

14-year-old Hailey George said she agreed that parents were spending too much time on their devices.

"My dad spends a lot of time texting his friends," she said.

But Nirvana Oliver, 15, had a slightly different problem: his parents didn't know how to use a mobile phone.

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"They don't even know how to work it," he said. "I have to show my mum how to use it all the time."

Nirvana agreed that his parents probably spent more time on their devices than talking to him. 

Half of the 340 parents surveyed agreed their use was too frequent, and many worried about how this looked to the younger generation. Twenty-six per cent felt they didn't set a good example for their children with their device use.

"With our kids picking up mobile devices at an increasingly younger age, it is really important that we set good habits within the home early on," said AVG Technologies security awareness director Michael McKinnon.

"It can be hard to step away from your device at home, but with a third of parents telling us that they wished their child used their device less they need to lead by example and consider how their behaviour might be making their child feel."

 

 - Stuff

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