Parents spend 9+ hours a day with screen media
December 7, 2016
The findings of a study released by Common Sense show that parents spend more than nine hours (9:22) a day with screen media, with the vast majority of that time being spent with personal screen media (7:43) and only a little more than 90 minutes devoted to work screen media.
The vast majority of these parents (78 per cent) believe they are good media use role models for their kids. Meanwhile, many parents are concerned about their children’s social media use and other online activities, including thinking that their children may become addicted to technology (56 per cent) and that technology use negatively impacts their children’s sleep (34 per cent).
“These findings are fascinating because parents are using media for entertainment just as much as their kids, yet they express concerns about their kids’ media use while also believing that they are good role models for their kids,” said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense. “Media can add a lot of value to relationships, education, and development, and parents clearly see the benefits, but if they are concerned about too much media in their kids’ lives, it might be time to reassess their own behaviour so that they can truly set the example they want for their kids.”
The study finds significant differences in media use by population. Nearly two-thirds of Hispanic and African-American parents (66 per cent and 65 per cent, respectively) are highly aware of the content their children see or hear when using media, compared to half of white parents (51 per cent). Hispanic parents are also more concerned about technology addiction (63 per cent vs. 55 per cent) and the impact of technology on their children’s sleep (43 per cent vs. 30 per cent).
“Latino parents use more media, are more engaged in children’s media use, and are two to three times more concerned about their children being online,” said Maria Alvarez, director of Latino content and outreach at Common Sense. “Common Sense has developed excellent tools and resources to help parents and communities address these concerns in a way that helps kids get the most out of technology while avoiding the perils.”
Other key findings:
- SOCIAL MEDIA: Fifty per cent of parents indicate that they thought using social media hurts children’s physical activity.
- INTERNET USE: Parents are “moderately” or “extremely” worried about kids spending too much time online (43 per cent), over-sharing personal details (38 per cent), accessing online pornography (36 per cent), and being exposed to images or videos of violence (36 per cent).
- MONITORING KIDS: Two-thirds (67 per cent) of parents say that monitoring child media use is more important than respecting their children’s privacy.
- RULES: A majority of parents report that mobile devices are not allowed during family meals (78 per cent) or bedtime (63 per cent).
- ETHNICITY: African-American parents (10:37) spend about an hour and a half more with personal screen media than Hispanic parents (8:52), who spend about two and a half hours more with personal screen media than white parents (6:38).
- INCOME: Parents from lower-income households spend more time with personal screen media (9:15) than middle-income parents (7:42), who spend more time than higher-income parents (6:41).
- EDUCATION: Parents with a high school degree or less spend the most time with personal screen media (9:03), as compared with parents with at least some college (7:41), who spend more time than parents with an undergraduate degree or higher (6:10).
- POSITIVE VIEWS: Parents largely have positive attitudes about the role of technology in their children’s education, learning, and development of important skills. They agree that technology positively supports schoolwork and education (94 per cent), feel that technology supports the acquisition of new skills (88 per cent), and feel that technology prepares kids for 21st-century jobs (89 per cent).
“Children are great mimics, which is why it is so important that parents introduce real boundaries and balance early on,” said Steyer. “Media will always be a part of life, and every family is different, but in general, we recommend that parents set rules and clear plans so that kids understand what is appropriate.”